Green Papaya Salad
This tangy, piquant salad is a version of the classic Vietnamese dish, which can be served as a first course, or a fiery side dish next to simple grilled meats or fish. It comes from Chris Shepherd, a Houston chef who is trying to tell the story of his city's food, among the most diverse in the country. If Thai chiles are too hot to bear (or not available), substitute other, milder peppers like serrano or jalapeño. Just don't use regular papaya even if it seems unripe; it won't have the right flavor and texture as a true green papaya. And if you can’t get green papaya, you can make this with green mango, seeded cucumber, cabbage or kohlrabi. The intense, funky dressing will work with any practically any cooling, crunchy vegetable you’ve got.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1tablespoon chopped dried shrimp
- ¼cup fish sauce
- ¼cup sugar
- 4garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
- 1lime, quartered
- 1to 2 Thai chiles, preferably red, stemmed and thinly sliced (or more, if you’d like more heat)
- 4cups peeled, shredded green papaya (from 1 medium green papaya)
- 10cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2tablespoons roasted unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
Step 1In a large metal or wooden bowl (not glass), stir together dried shrimp, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, lime and chiles. Using a wooden muddler or pestle (or a wooden spoon), lightly pound the ingredients to bruise and release their flavors.
Step 2Mix shredded papaya and tomatoes into fish sauce mixture, tossing until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then top with chopped peanuts.