Spicy Green Papaya Salad (with a small mortar & pestle)

Papaya salad is a no-brainer to order at any Thai restaurant. But to make it? No way, I would never achieve the same complex flavour and texture as the restos. Although I’m not 100% there, I’m satisfied to be 80% there with this recipe! To make it even better, I would learn how to julienne papaya like a pro and add in those salted field crabs for added umami.

Local Toronto food recommendation: Imm Thai Kitchen is my absolute favourite. If it was close to me, I would be making way too many visits. Their menu is excellent, but if there’s a few you must order, the tom yum pad Thai is a must (it’s served up with a very impressive egg net), and ending off with their housemade ice creams (in mango, coconut & thai ice tea flavours) are a must. The same owners also owns Sala Kitchen on the East end.

(Posts: Ice Cream | Shrimp Pad Thai | Laap Tod | Pad Thai Lobster)

Here’s all the tools & ingredients you need to make a delicious (spicy) papaya salad:

What you need for this recipe:

  • All ingredients are a must, don’t even skip the roasted peanuts or green beans! Although it’s only 3 pieces, they add to the texture.
  • A mortar and pestle (similar size for reference) A small one will do fine, as you just need to blister/create pastes with the ingredients and sauces. If you have a larger one, even better – combine all the ingredients and pound all together to infuse the flavour even more.
  • A julienne peeler (like this one!) or you can use a mandolin, but the julienne peeler to me is much safer and easier. Or, if you want to go way expert, route, that guarantees a way superior texture and taste, you can chop and slice right from the papaya like the street vendors in Thailand.

Learn how to make this addictive spicy papaya salad!

Serves: 2
Preparation time: 20

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ingredients

10g Dried shrimp, rehydrated & minced
30g Peanuts, crushed & toasted (Note 1)
1 tbsp Garlic (3 cloves)
1-2 whole Thai birds eye chili peppers
1½ tbsp Fish sauce
2 tbsp Lime juice
1½ tbsp Palm Sugar
2 tsp Tamarind juice
150g Tomato, wedges
3 long Green beans, 2″
200g Green papaya, shredded

Instructions

  1. Soak dried shrimp in lukewarm water for 20 minutes. Mince roughly.
  2. To a mortar and pestle, lightly crush peanuts. Remove from M&P and set onside.
  3. To M&P, add chopped rehydrated shrimp. Pound until shrimp becomes light and flakey. Add to a large mixing bowl.
  4. To M&P add all aromatics: Garlic & Chili. Mince until a paste forms. Add sauce & seasoning: fish sauce, lime, sugar and tamarind paste. Add to mixing bowl.
  5. To M&P, add tomato and lightly crush. Add to mixing bowl.
  6. Cut green beans to 2 inch pieces. Add to M&P and lightly crush. Add to mixing bowl.
  7. Mix all contents in the mixing bowl (pounded shrimp, aromatic/ dressing sauce mix, tomato & green beans). Add shredded papaya. Mix thoroughly. Allow to sit for 5 minutes for flavours to infuse.
  8. To serve, add a portion of the papaya to a plate, and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.

Notes

  • (Note 1) Roast whole peanuts in an oven at 350F for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add spice according to your spice level, I would say 4/5 level spice is 2 chilis. But don’t ask me, because I can’t handle the whole spice packet in an Indomie mi goreng noodle pack.
  • This sits well in the fridge for a few days, but it’s best to eat fresh, or within the next 2 days as papaya does wilt a bit more sitting in the sauce.
  • Enjoy with sticky rice and white cabbage to tone down the spice if you have it on hand.
  • For the lime juice, I used frozen juice, which worked well!