Green Papaya Salad

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I recently had dinner with a friend and we had this Green Papaya Salad. It was so incredibly tasty with it’s fresh clean taste and punch of flavour. It has been a while since I have had a Green Papaya Salad and it has motivated me to make it more often. It’s delicious and makes the perfect accompaniment to a meal of steamed rice and tofu or simply served on it’s own for lunch. The unripened papaya is excellent for your digestive enzymes so it also makes a great balance to a fatty meal, such as fried tofu or fish.

Making the salad using a mortar and pestle gives the flavours a chance to infuse together so I highly recommend you do it this way if you have one.Raw green papaya is a powerhouse for getting your digestive enzymes active. It is most powerful in it’s green, unripe form. As the papaya ripens these digestive enzymes diminish. That’s great news for us, as this salad rocks with it’s fresh, clean zinging taste.  Packed with an array of nutrients, its stand out health benefit is that it contains two of the most powerful digestive enzymes: papain and chymopapatin. These enzymes are important for breaking down fats, carbohydrates and proteins and thus aiding good digestion.

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Green Papaya Salad

2-3 Birds eye red chilli (I use 3 but add more to taste, depending on how hot you like it!)

1 green papaya

4 table spoons fresh lime juice (approx 3 limes)

4 teaspoons palm or coconut sugar

4 small garlic cloves

1 handful of green beans chopped into approx 3cm lengths

8 cherry tomatoes, chopped roughly

1 teaspoon shoyu soy sauce

Pinch salt to taste (Celtic or Himalayan are good choices here)

2 tablespoons roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped

1 tablespoon Vietnamese mint leaves, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon coriander leaves, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon dried fried onion

Firstly, peel the papaya and scoop out and discard the seeds. Then shred the green papaya using a shredder or mandolin. You can get specific and very inexpensive shredders for this purpose at most Asian grocers. The strips need to be thin and all a similar size. Set aside.

In a mortar and pestle, pound together the chillis and garlic cloves, then add the green beans and palm sugar. Taking care not to completely flatten the beans, you want them to remain slightly whole to provide texture and crunch. Next add the lime juice, followed by the chopped tomato, gently bruising the tomato with the pestle and mixing together with the other ingredients.

Dried shrimp and fish sauce are traditionally used in this dish. This is a vegetarian version so to give the saltiness you can add 1 teaspoon of shoyu soy sauce and a pinch of salt. Lastly, add the shredded green papaya and lightly bruise, combining all ingredients together. The easiest way to do this is to have the pestle in one hand and a spoon in the other to keep turning and folding the ingredients so all of the papaya is coated in the delicious dressing.

You can do in batches if you have a small mortar and pestle and combine together in a bigger bowl to serve. It really is best done this way to merge together the flavours.

Fold into serving bowl and top with roasted peanuts, Vietnamese mint & coriander leaves and a sprinkle of dried onion.

Variations:

  • Add some herbs such as thai basil or coriander.
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