I was in a light dinner mood again the other day, and was craving some exotic flavours, so Thai dinner it was! I discovered an awesome website that has all sorts of Asian recipes in it, classified by country! It is definitely drool-worthy, and this woman is amazing for knowing all these traditional recipes! I just find already-published recipes and cook them! So her green papaya salad caught my eye, and it was decided, I loved it and wanted it, and was going to make it that same day!
This recipe required a lot of prep-work, which I should have seen coming, since first of all, it’s a salad which translates into washing, rinsing, chopping. And second of all, it’s an Asian dish, which means condiments, condiments, condiments, and an inevitable trip to the Asian grocery store for that one thing you don’t have in the pantry (e.g. galangal, Thai red bird chili, lemongrass, tofu, etc.). Also, this salad calls for all the ingredients to be julienned. Unfortunately for me, I don’t own any fancy kitchen gimmick to help me julienne my vegetables. So I had to chop it all by hand. Do you know how hard it is to peel an unripe papaya, and then chop that round, papaya-shaped papaya into teeny, tiny, matchsticks? And then do it again with an unripe mango? And then a carrot?!?!?! It’s not difficult, but it’s so time-consuming, and my shoulders are sore today from all the chopping! It takes a lot of chops to transform a papaya into slivers of fruit!!! It didn’t help that the papaya had started to ripen in the middle, and so it was hard on the outside, but squishy on the inside. Nothing like uneven terrain to make julienning more challenging! It was the colour of cantaloupe.
By the way, I learned today that I was pronouncing cantaloupe wrong. Like canta-loop. Instead of the supposed canta-lope. I don’t get it, if “oupe” is pronounced “ope”, shouldn’t antelope be spelled “anteloupe”?! Don’t mind my random ESL rant. I’m not actually ESL, English is my first language, but spending 8yrs of my childhood in an ELS country makes me mispronounce random words sometimes! But oh my god, it was an AMAZING salad, one of the best things I’ve cooked I’d say! So yes, the hour of julienning was worth it. I feel like those women who endure the pain of childbirth, and afterwards, they’re so pleased with their baby that they say they’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. Well, I now understand them. Because I’d do all the chopping all over again for this salad. It must be true love.
This is what you’ll need:
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 green papaya, julienned
- 1 green mango, julienned
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
- Fresh mint, roughly chopped
- Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 thai bird chile, sliced (optional)
- 12 shrimp
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Olive oil
First, mix all these up for the dressing. The original recipe doesn’t call for rice wine vinegar, but I added some because when I tasted it without, the lime and fish sauce seemed too strong.
Also, mix up the shrimp in a bowl with all its ingredients and refrigerate. Now, it’s chopping time! You’ll be at it for about…. an hour? By the way, my carrots, papaya, and mango looked like this when I was done:
When it’s all done, mix all the salad ingredients with your dressing and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts!
After the salad was done, I grabbed my bowl of shrimp and went upstairs to the deck to BBQ them. I couldn’t find any skewers at home, so I had to make do without, and the shrimp were barbequed individually. They turned out great!!! Just look at these beauties!!!
So yes. This was my fantastic dinner/shoulder-workout yesterday. YUM! So if you’re dedicated enough to make this (or have a julienne gimmick), go make this right now!