It doesn’t take much to amuse me. Happening upon exotic fruits and vegetables could be the highlight of any day. Last weekend we were returning home from downtown and took a turn down a street with a large Asian population. The veggie stores cater to them and it’s the only place I know of in Barcelona to get such exciting vegetables as bitter gourd, snake beans and long purple eggplant. So imagine my delight to find, for the first time, green papaya! I’d never seen one in real life before, but I’m very familiar with them from watching Thai and Vietnamese cooking shows. Green papaya salad seems to be a must-make for anyone presenting a Southeast Asian cooking show.
So what’s a green papaya, anyway? Well, just like the name, it’s an unripe green papaya (duh). Once you’ve peeled the skin, you’ll find firm, white flesh which is crispy and almost tasteless, making it the perfect vehicle to absorb the delicious sweet-sour-spicy-salty dressing. First the papaya is shredded, then mixed with bruised green beans, tomatoes, herbs, nuts and tossed with the dressing.
The Thais have a special papaya-shredding tool, but if you (like me) don’t, you can use a box grater, mandoline, or stab it all over with a knife. I can’t explain that last technique to you in words so I recommend watching this video and skipping to the end to see how it’s done. The result is a fresh, summery salad with the perfect balance of all the flavours. If you’re lucky enough to find a green papaya while wandering through town, try this salad!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 388Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gSodium: 1489mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 7gSugar: 26gProtein: 16g