Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thai Green Papaya Salad

A Laotian friend introduced me to Thai Green Papaya Salad when I was still living in Austin, TX. His mom would make me a huge container every time he visits her for the weekend, which I then in turn wolf down (the whole container) while watching American Idol Season 1 (yup, that long ago, LOL!!).

My cravings for Thai Green Papaya Salad had been going on and off for months now, but I can never find time to visit Surin of Thailand, the home of the best Thai Green Papaya Salad in Atlanta. They serve it with thai beef jerky and sticky rice, which make it even better. Then yesterday, my Bon Appetit subscription for May arrived in the mail, and lo and behold, on page 80, was a recipe for Thai Green Papaya Salad by one of my favorite food bloggers, Molly Wizenberg of Orangette. Naturally, I was reminded of my cravings, so I decided to finally drag my ass to Surin at one in the afternoon for a late lunch of Green Papaya Salad. And oh boy, it is as good as I remember it to be. Yay for Surin! Tummy happy after, I went home with a big smile of satisfaction in my face, only to find out that it was short-lived. I was craving it again as soon as I got home. Going back to Surin is out of the question, so, I paid my friendly neighborhood Indian store a visit. I know they have green papayas in their produce section from when I was there yesterday for Pistachio-Saffron ice cream. I got my green papaya, and I went to work on it.

Thai Green Papaya Salad
by Molly Wizenberg of Orangette
(Bon Appetit, May 2010)

5 T fresh lime juice
3 T (packed) muscovado sugar
2 T + 2 t fish sauce
2 T dried shrimp, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pcs green onions, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 pcs Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 fresh Thai Chile with seeds, thinly sliced
3 Chinese long beans or 15 green beans*
1 1 1/2 to 13/4 lb green papaya, peeled, halved, seeded and julienne
1/4 cup chopped peanuts for serving

* I used 12 pieces frozen haricot verts, since I have them in my freezer. I thawed and added it in the salad without cooking.

Whisk first (5) ingredients in medium bowl. Set dressing aside.

Cook beans in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Put the julienned papaya (about 6 cups) in a large bowl. Add onions, cilantro, tomatoes, thai chiles and green beans. Pour dressing over and toss. Sprinkle chopped peanuts before serving.

Makes 6 servings. For a light lunch or dinner, top the salad with grilled shrimp or tofu.

Special Equipment: Julienne peeler, mandoline or box grater.

Ingredient Tips: Palm sugar, fish sauce (patis, nam pla or nuoc nam), dried shrimp, chinese long beans, green papaya and Thai chiles can all be found at Asian markets.

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