Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Green Papaya Salad, My Way...

My way being a rather bastardized version of the Thai green papaya salad (Som Tam)...

Truth is, ever since I tasted a really delicious green papaya salad at a lovely Thai restaurant, I'd been obsessed with making one...

The original version uses long beans but I forgot to get some at the market, so I substituted a small carrot instead.  Also, I was told that to make the salad, the traditional way was to "hack" the papaya with shallow cuts using a knife then slicing thinly across the hacked cuts to make the strips (the technique was actually shown to me by our old/ex household help using an Indian mango!).  I actually tried to do it except that I was so afraid to cut my hand.  I ended up using a julienne peeler, which I got at the Japanese thrift store!  Fast and easy!

The recipe for my bastardized version...

1 green papaya, about 500 to 600 grams, julienned
1 small carrot, julienned
2 small tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts

3 cloves garlic
1 to 2 pieces siling labuyo (birds eye chili)
1 tablespoon dried shrimp
juice from about 6 pieces medium sized calamansi
1/2 teaspoon bagoong (shrimp paste)
2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar

Place the garlic, chili, dried shrimp, juice, bagoong, fish sauce and coconut sugar in a small mortar and pound with the matching pestle until it is pasty and liquidy.  Add half of the peanuts and pound again.  Then toss the "dressing" with the papaya, carrot, tomatoes and peanuts.

Chill before serving.

A final note about the dressing... the truth is, the mix is largely personal.  I like mine rather sourish and salty, which is the reason for more calamansi juice and fish sauce.  Adjust accordingly as preferred!

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