Green Papaya Salad
The recipe for this week is a super easy, super quick and very refreshing salad that is a perfect lunch on a hot summer's day. Green papaya salad reminds me of a good friend, who was for a very long time obsessed with it. It is perhaps the memory of his fondness for this salad that brings a smile to my face. That smile is made even wider by the memory of Little Boy Green helping me prepare it.
Little Boy Green has recently discovered a great fondness to “cooking” and has been preparing his favourite meals for us using his scoops, mugs and a mismatch of building blocks and found objects (Mrs Green considered getting him a set of "kitchen" toys but decided in favour of just letting him have almost unrestricted access to the kitchen cooking supplies - we draw the line at the serrated knives). On his current menu are the nutritional cornerstones of any good diet: ice cream and pizza. Green Papaya Salad has not yet featured, but its only a matter of time. While the salad as a dish is not going down too well with him quite yet, he loves and eats with evident delight all of the individual ingredients. Carrots, green papaya and tomatoes probably all feature on his top ten list of “foods I love right now” and he is a big fan of dipping them in peanut butter, so he is really only a step or two away from embracing the dish as we prepare it.
If you are unfamiliar with green papaya, it is a very refreshing fruit that is reminiscent of cucumber with the floral notes of ripe orange papaya. It is crunchy and as with courgette, it works well as a noodle substitute.
While visiting our local East Asian grocery store, Mrs Green came across and bought some brown rice noodles and brown rice wraps, she was so excited by her purchase that the royal “we” decided to have some rice paper wraps to accompany the salad. These wraps were filled with brown rice noodles, julienned carrot, mint and coriander leaves, spring onion and Kraut-Chi, please visit our previous post Rice Paper Wraps for how to prepare them a la Bethnal Greens.
This recipe is not a far cry from our Stirred Not Fried recipes as it is a raw salad that could be bulked up with some noodles if serving as a main dish. We used a fancy veg peeler that we picked up a few years ago during a visit to a Parisian market. We were completely bamboozled by the lady selling it and her amazing shredding and selling skills, and have finally put the gadget to use. If you do not have one, you should travel to Paris post-haste and visit just about any farmers' market to be similarly bamboozled by the whizzes selling these. Alternatively, you could use a knife (the traditional method) and some patience. The traditional method, although simple, does require a sharp knife and some caution. Cut the base off so that you can place the papaya on to your chopping board with some stability. Next, cut into the papaya lengthwise several times and then slice down along the grooves to produce noodles/juliennes, and repeat.
Green Papaya Salad:
- 1 small green papaya (we used half of a medium sized one)
- 1 large carrot
- A handful of ripe cherry tomatoes
- 2 X spring onions
- 1 medium clove garlic
- Small handful of fresh coriander
- 1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
- 1 lime
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- Peel the green papaya and then proceed to shred or julienne until you reach the core. Unlike ripe orange papaya, there is not a soft overly seeded core so you can use most of the fruit. (we saved the centre for Little boy green to munch on)
- Shred or julienne the carrot, quarter the cherry tomatoes and thinly slice the onion and add to a large bowl along with the papaya.
- Finely chop the garlic or pass through a garlic press and place in a small bowl. Add the peanut butter, juice of the lime, salt and tamari and whisk into a sauce.
- Pick leaves off the coriander stems and add to salad.
- Mix the sauce into the prepared veg and let sit for 30 min or while you prepare the rice paper wraps. Serve with wedges of lime.