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!
Preparation time: 20
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
- Soak dried shrimp in lukewarm water for 20 minutes. Mince roughly.
- To a mortar and pestle, lightly crush peanuts. Remove from M&P and set onside.
- To M&P, add chopped rehydrated shrimp. Pound until shrimp becomes light and flakey. Add to a large mixing bowl.
- 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.
- To M&P, add tomato and lightly crush. Add to mixing bowl.
- Cut green beans to 2 inch pieces. Add to M&P and lightly crush. Add to mixing bowl.
- 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.
- To serve, add a portion of the papaya to a plate, and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.
- (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!