My sister came to visit over the holidays and since she recently went on a vacation to Thailand, where she had lot's of nice things to eat and acquired a local cook-book, she came prepared. We made one of her favorite salads, something that seems to be the most simple and common side-dish or a starter there. A green papaya salad.
Living in Germany, she can actually get the things needed for it, so she came with an arsenal of stuff - a huge green papaya (by the way, does anyone know if it's a special species of papaya or just the same normal papaya raw?). And both mom and I got a special slicer (similar to a julienne slicer, but makes thinner ribbons).
This is one of those 'one eye crying, one eye laughing' situations, as the salad was so great, yet I have absolutely no way of getting green papaya here. So now I'm thinking what would it be possible to substitute it with, so far I've come up with baby zucchini or cucumber, but neither one of those is quite IT.
But enough of complaining, here's the recipe for this lovely salad that I accompanied with some lightly fried tiger-prawns.
Thai Green Mango Salad served with Tiger Prawns in Double Plum Sauce and Lime (Tai rohelise papaia salat ploomi ja laimikastmes tiigerkrevettidega):
For the salad:
1 large green papaya
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 red fresh chili pepper
2 medium or 1 large carrot
2-3 tbsp of fish sauce
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
salt if necessary
Peel the papaya and cut it in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds (they're lovely looking, like little pearls).
Use your new fancy slicer (or just a coarse grate) to get long and thin strips of papaya.
Peel the carrots and make thin strips out of them as well.
Deseed the chili pepper, cut it into thin strips and chop up the garlic. If you don't like things too hot or the chili is really biting use just one half of it.
Mash the chili and the garlic with some salt in a mortar. Set aside.
Start mashing the papaya handful by handful adding in the already mashed chili-garlic mixture. If you have a large mortar use that, if not you can just use a wooden potato-masher and a plastic bowl. It's important to mash the papaya as it infuses the spicy taste, releases the juices and changes in texture and color. The strips of papaya will end up looking shiny and glassy, kind of like rice-noodles.
Add in the carrots, then chopped tomatoes and season with the fish sauce + lemon juice + brown sugar.
For the prawns:
~24 cleaned and peeled tiger-prawns (or a sachet if you're using frozen ones)
2-3 tbsp of Double Plum sauce
juice of 1 lime
grated peelings of 1 lime
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp of freshly ground pepper
a splash of olive oil.
Mix the sauce ingredients and cover the prawns with it, let them sit for about 20 - 30 minutes.
Then quickly grill or fry on both sides.
Serve with the Green Papaya Salad.
It's really great, especially after all this heavy and hearty holiday food. It smells wonderful already when you're making the food, it is fresh and crunchy and savory. Yum, yum. I'm salivating :)