Green Papaya Salad is a national dish of Thailand but green papaya can be difficult to find here. The essence of the dish is the crunchy vegetables and the classic Thai flavors of fish sauce, garlic and chilies. The classic version has very few ingredients, but using it as a base you can add many great late season vegetables and herbs to make a great side dish or center of the plate star served with a spicy grilled steak or (sustainably farmed!) shrimp. Wonderful with satay or other Thai dishes and steamed rice, this salad is so fast and brightly flavored, you will find yourself making new versions of it with many of the great seasonal bounty the farmers market has to offer! It is really like the Thai version of cole slaw, and tastes great with many vegetables. If you have a chance to try the classic version with just green papaya, it is worth looking for.
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 Thai chilies, sliced (substitute serranos if necessary)
1 medium zucchini
1 four inch piece daikon, peeled or 1 cup other radishes
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 cup green beans, sliced into batons
1 cup yellow wax or other beans, sliced into batons
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 handful basil and cilantro
1 cup roasted peanuts
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic with the sugar, then add the fish sauce, chilies, and lime juice. (You can mince the garlic and make the dressing in a jar if you wish).
Cut the bottom from the zucchini and cut into long strands using a mandoline. When you get to the seeds and core, turn the squash to get all four sides down to the seeds.
Then cut the radish and carrot the same way. Be very careful of your fingers!
Toss the salad ingredients together with the dressing and a pinch of salt and let sit for 2 minutes. Chiffonade the basil and chop the cilantro and toss into the salad and sprinkle over the peanuts and serve.
YIELD: 8 servings
NOTES: Great with spicy grilled dishes, satays or curries.
SOURCE: Chef Jamie Smith