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Green Papaya Salad

Green Papaya salad is very refreshing. In the heat of Vietnam, the salad is served with a liberal amount of very hot red birds eye chillies. For this recipe I have toned down the chilli content.

Green Papaya Salad

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten Free, Contains Nuts

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 green papaya, de-seeded, peeled and grated
  • 50g cashew nuts, roasted
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar or jaggery
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Thai basil, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Peel the papaya, slice lengthways and remove the white immature bitter seeds.
  2. Grate or julienne the green papaya into a large bowl.
  3. Roast the cashews.
  4. Chop the garlic and chilli, and pummel to a paste either in a mortar or whiz in a mini food processor.
  5. Add the lime zest, juice and sugar to the chilli paste and mix in with the grated papaya.
  6. Very finely chop the tomatoes and spring onions and mix into the salad.
  7. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  8. Decorate with chopped basil and roasted cashew nuts.

Tips:

  • In Vietnam they use a special Julienne peeler to achieve the tiny strips of papaya.
  • Green papayas are unripe papayas. They are not at all sweet and have the texture of a firm marrow, but with much lower water content. Green papayas are usually available from Asian stores.
  • If you can't find green papayas, you could make a similar salad using unripe melon or even cucumber.
  • Thai basil has a darker leaf than sweet basil and a sharper more aromatic flavour. Thai basil is easy to grow and you can buy it from Asian stores. Otherwise use sweet basil with some fresh mint added.
  • Jaggery is unrefined sugar made from boiling down the juice of the Palmyra palm. It is sold in lumps or blocks in all Indian or Asian stores and you can grate it into dishes such as curries or stir fries. It keeps forever in a sealed bag in a cupboard.

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