Excited and Calm…how is that possible?? I’ll tell ya…
I’m excited because I am so flippin proud that this dish turned out so well and I had so much fun making it. Seriously, I put the lion down for a nap and spent time puttering around the kitchen, getting my ingredients all ready to go so I could just do some quick assembly later on when it was time for dinner. You know i’m a sucker for being prepped in the kitchen! The rest of my life…not so much but the kitchen absolutely. (Disclaimer incase husband reads this, I am not organized when it comes to tupperware, kitchen cupboards and my food pantry but let’s not be such debbie downers kay?) I put on some tunes, a little Jenny Lewis, followed by The Stone Roses, followed by the XX and zoned out in to my own little world of kitchen bliss.
Calm…because of the whole kitchen bliss thing but also because I got to use my Mortar and Pestle and smash the shit out of the ingredients. Its how you do it!! Confession: I have a lot of kitchen tools and appliances and I don’t always use them…the mortar and pestle is one of them. My dad bought me this one years ago and it’s awesome but it’s heavy as hell so I don’t always love pulling it out of the archives but today was the perfect opportunity to use it!
As i’ve got ‘The Voyager’ playing in the background, I start to get my green papaya ready. Green papayas are not the same as the regular papaya most of us know, with the red flesh. To be honest, I hate those kind of papayas. I don’t think they have much taste so I never understood the point. The green papaya however is firm, crunchy and an awesome base for this delicious salad that can be found all over Thailand.
All you need to do is peel the outer green skin and chop in half. Inside you will see a bunch of white seeds. If they have turned a bit black, that’s okay, don’t be alarmed you don’t have a moldy papaya, it’s just part of the ripening process. (I can be a bit Cliff Clavin about food and know some random facts). Using a spoon, scoop those seeds out and discard.
Next you are going to use a mandolin or julienne peeler to get some nice shredded papaya. After purchasing some pretty craptastic julienne peelers, I have finally found one that does the trick!! It was like about 7 dollars if I recall and it’s made by Swiss Mar. I have a regular peeler from Swiss Mar and i’ve had it for about 10 years! It was only a few bucks and all these years later, still works like a boss!
Here’s what about half the papaya looks like shredded. I ended up doing a little more than half of the papaya and it was honestly WAY too much for just husband and I!!
Here are some of the other ingredients used in the dish
I also used fish sauce, peanuts and dried shrimp. The dried shrimp smell pretty pungent and because I was getting organized before assembling, there was no way I wanted to put them on the plate and stink up my place 🙂 Here is a picture of what they look like. I have made this salad before without them but it really tastes better when you have them on hand. You can get them at any asian supermarket. I got this package for like $2.39 at T&T
Alright now we got most of stuff together, it’s time to assemble and this is where you get to find your inner calm by pounding the crap out of the ingredients and relieving some of that built up stress of the day. Get your mortar and pestle out and place the chilli, dried shrimp and garlic and start to pound it.
Next squeeze your fresh lime in to the mixture, add your sugar and fish sauce as well. Keep pounding that stuff and you will make a great little dressing. Next add a few of your green beans and a few tomatoes and pound!
Now you are going to start adding some of the shredded papaya, little handfuls at a time. You can start to pound everything together and then when the papaya gets bruised, it will push down and allow you to add more. I also like to add some shredded carrot to this as well. Anytime I can add a bit more veggies to anything, I totally will!!
Just keep repeating until you have got all of the papaya in there. If the size of your mortar and pestle is small, just do it in batches, it will be the same diff!
Now take a few bows to the fictional crowd of people watching you…YOU FLIPPIN DID IT!!! You made an amazing dish, you used some new kitchen gadgets and you pretty much just made a winning dish.
Plate that baby up, stand back, take a few pictures of your prize winning salad and then sit down with your elbows out and start shovelling it in!!
Hell…add some peanuts on top and you just took it to a new level!
Green Papaya Salad (Feeds 4 people if used as an accompaniment to another dish)
- 10 Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 Chilli Pepper, add more if you are a fan of the heat
- 1 Tbsp of dried shrimp
- 1 medium lime
- 2 Tbsp of fish sauce
- 1 clove of garlic
- 10 green beans, cut in to 1 inch pieces
- 2 cups of shredded green papaya (or approximately half of a large one)
- 1 carrot peeled and shredded
- 2 Tbsp of sugar
- 2-3 Tbsp of crushed peanuts (optional)
Required-Mortar and Pestle and a mandolin/julienne peeler (or you could slice it by hand but it might take a while)
- Peel and Shred half a green papaya
- Add dried shrimp, chilli pepper and garlic to the mortar and pestle and pound the crap out of it to make a paste. Next add juice from 1 medium lime, sugar and fish sauce and keep pounding.
- Add your tomatoes and green beans and pound it some more
- Add handfuls of papaya and carrot and start to smash it all together. Keep adding more until the dish is fully mixed together.
- Plate it up in your favourite dish and top with peanuts (optional)
This dish is so light and fresh and has just enough heat to make you feel like you are hanging out in thailand. I love pairing it with thai beef salad because I can eat a lot and not feel uber full.
Much love and moodiness!