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Thai-style green papaya salad

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

Green papayas have a slightly sour taste with a wonderful crunch. They are used in cuisines across Asia, usually in salads or curries. They are available in some Asian stores or at any grocery store in India. This salad pops with flavors from the wonderful tomato-based dressing. The hint of the sea from the dried shrimp and fish sauce adds wonderful nuances to the salad.

I sometimes cannot find, or run out of dried shrimp, so I improvise by taking 1-2 small shrimp and wrapping them in foil with a light spray of oil and roasting for 4-5 minutes to cook the shrimp. This method allows me to create a suitable substitute for the whole dried shrimp or bottled shrimp paste. For a vegan or vegetarian version of this salad, do not add the fish sauce or shrimp. The salad dressing has enough complexity to not miss their presence.

I also tend to peel the green papaya for some unknown reason. No recipe calls for this, but I do this to remove some of the slight bitterness present in the peel. This is a massive book on Thai cooking, one of my newer purchases. Like every other cookbook published by Phaidon, it is an outstanding book on the varied cuisines and flavors of Thailand. You will see me cook from here often.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


3 bird’s eye chiles, or to taste

5 cloves garlic

3/4 oz/20 g green beans, cut into 1 inch lengths

2 tomatoes, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon palm or soft brown sugar

1 tablespoon dried shrimp

1 tablespoon roasted peanuts

1 tablespoon fish sauce

4 oz/120 g green papaya, shredded

1 tablespoon roasted peanuts, pounded

2 limes, cut into wedges

Pound the chiles and garlic together in a mortar with a pestle, then add the beans and lightly crush them. add the tomatoes, sugar dried shrimp, lime juice, lime wedges, and fish sauce to the mortar and gently mix together until the sugar has dissolved. add the papaya and mix well. Serve with the pounded roasted peanuts scattered on top and additional wedges of lime on the side.

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