Thai Papaya Salad


"HRH" who has zero heat tolerance has taken to Thai food lately.
This "ang mo kia" who can't even handle ground pepper managed and survived with a big jug of ice cold water on standby.

Since the cuisine emphasise on a wide variety of fresh herbs, spices and leaves; it is understandably one of the most popular cuisines in the world.
One would experience at least 3, up to 4 or 5 interplays of taste senses in each dish.

Take for example their classic papaya salad, listed as one of the 50 most delicious food in the world.
You get the sweetness from the palm sugar, saltiness from the fish sauce, heat from the chilli and sourness from the lime juice in a harmonious finish.

The typical papaya salad requires some “bashing” (actually more a mash and mix motion) with P and M, but when you are making a big batch (for 120 people), you are exempted from using one.

This salad form part of a Thai theme dinner we recently served for a church activity.

How good was it?
Well, I was “pestered” for the recipes.

So, here you are.

You will need:

shredded green papaya (from half a papaya)
1 handful of dried shrimps
2 tablespoon roasted peanuts
2-3 sliced shallots
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 - 1 tablespoon Thai palm sugar
juice from 1-2 lime
1-5 chillies (depending on your preference)
3-4 cherry tomatoes (halved)
long bean (optional)
parsley or basil to garnish

Methods: (w/o  P & M)

1. After washing, peel off the skin of the papaya and shave it into long stripes (we use mandoline)
and place it in a salad bowl.

2. Grind the garlic, chillies, palm sugar, lime juice and fish sauce in a grinder (or food processor) till palm sugar completely dissolved, set aside.

3. Pan fried and roughly chopped the dried shrimps, crushed the roasted peanut lightly.

4. Add in the tomatoes, finely sliced shallots, roasted peanuts and dried shrimps to the green papaya.

5. Pour the dressing over, garnished and served immediately.

Methods: (using P & M)
1. After washing, peel off the skin of the papaya and shave it into long stripes (we use mandoline)

2. Add the garlic and chillies into the mortar and pound till garlic and chillies are reduced to small pieces.

3. Add the palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice and mix till sugar completely dissolved

4. Toss in the long beans, roasted peanuts and dried shrimps and lightly crushed it. Add in the tomatoes and gently bruise it.

5. Mix in the green papaya, with the help of a metal spoon, lightly mash, mix and coat the salad with the dressings.

6. Remove from mortar and garnish with finely sliced shallots and more roasted peanuts.

Cooks Notes:

  • Papaya has to be green, unripe.
  • If you don't like raw long beans, blanched it briefly
  • Start the dressing with a lesser amount of fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar and adjust to your preference.
  • The dressing will make the salad turn soggy quite quickly. Pour over dressing only when ready to eat.
  • Try remove seeds in the chillies for less heat.
  • Pan-fried or toast the dried shrimps for more aromatic flavours

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