When I had lunch with Mel at The Raw Kitchen Cafe, I was introduced to the edible joy that is green papaya. I'm not even sure I'd heard of green papaya before then, never mind had the privilege of tasting it.
I have since learned more about the classic green papaya salad, Som Tam, which combines green papaya with the quintessential Thai flavours of lime, chilli, palm sugar, and fish sauce. I'm keen to try that too (probably with a vegetarian alternative to fish sauce) but should clarify up front that today's salad is not Som Tam. No, today's dish is a direct adaptation of the salad below, or at least the half on the right, which combines green papaya with carrot and lots of other good things.
Instead of lime, chilli and fish sauce, we have lemon juice, coriander, basil, mint and soy sauce. In addition to the papaya, we have carrot and snow peas It might not be Som Tam, but I can promise you that it works.
|My salad, less pretty than the cafe version...|
As a consequence of it working so well, there is now none of this left. Perth-based green papaya? Look out, I want you all.
Raw Thai papaya salad
Based on the exquisite dish of the same name at The Raw Kitchen Cafe
Vegan and raw
Serves 2 (as a light main) to 4 (as a side)
1 green papaya
2 medium carrots
1/2 - 3/4 cup snow peas, stalks removed (I'm learning my pea types)
1 tbsp soy sauce (for a fully raw version, use a raw equivalent, like Nama Shoyu)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 - 1 tsp olive oil
10 cashews (or more)
1 bunch mint
1 bunch basil
1 bunch coriander
If you have a spiralizer, create spiralized noodles from your green papaya. If you don't, use a knife to cut thin slices or use a grater (manual or food processor) to grate the flesh. I grated mine using a food processor.
Grate the carrots and add to the papaya, along with the snow peas.
If you have a food processor, process the oil, cashews, mint, basil and coriander until the herbs and cashews are roughly chopped. If you don't have a food processor, chop the herbs finely by hand, roughly chop the cashews, and mix together with the olive oil.
Combine the papaya/carrot/snow pea mix with the herb/cashew mix.
Serve. Eat. Rejoice.
This dish doesn't have the sense of occasion that my lunch with Mel had. The version at the Raw Kitchen Cafe also has a little extra something compared to mine, perhaps in the intensity of their flavour-filled sauce, or in the beauty of their spiralized papaya noodles, or from some secret ingredient they add a dash of. I will still enjoy their version when I'm in the Fremantle area, but for those weeks that visiting isn't on the agenda? I think that this will stand in just fine.
Thanks for all your kind birthday wishes to Mr Bite. He greatly enjoyed the comments sent his way!
What are your favourite green papaya uses? (I know, probably Som Tam. I need to try it.)
Or have you adapted a restaurant / cafe dish that you enjoyed, with positive results?
I'm sending this recipe to Ricki's Wellness Weekend April 11th to 15th, Healthy Vegan Friday #38, and Raw Food Thursdays April 10th (it's a bit promiscuous, this dish!).