Yes, this is what green papaya looks like. First time I’ve seen the insides of one as well. As I was peeling the papaya with a kitchen knife (the vegetable peeler was a joke to it), I kept thinking “have I bought the wrong papaya? Maybe you are supposed to let it ripen a bit”. I tasted a sliver of papaya that I cut. Yikes. Crunchy, tasteless and worse still, I detected an astringent sap like liquid. Utterly confused and with doubts were swirling around my head, I put the papaya down and consulted Google. What I tasted was nothing like the papaya salad I’ve had at Thai restaurant. I must have bought the wrong papaya!
After reading some articles, I relaxed a little. The sap I encountered comes from the skin. Finish peeling the papaya and give it a rinse and the problem goes away. The shredded green papaya then needs to be prepped by soaking in some lemon juice or vinegar to soften it a bit and to give it the tang you often taste in papaya salads. Ok. Phew. Dinner was back on track.
Trying to shred the papaya was the next battle. I cut the papaya in half then tried a few tricks I’ve seen on TV of people cutting green mango. I won’t bother explaining what I tried to do, but just know that the very green papaya is not soft, and if you wish to keep all your digits intact, use a mandolin or a proper shredder to julienne the papaya. If you lack a mandolin or shredder, do it the old fashioned way with a knife, chopping board and some patience. I used a mandolin to thinly slice the papaya (please use the safety hand guard for the mandolin because again, you’d want to prevent any accidental loss of fingerprints) then julienned it with a knife.
I used the green papaya in a few recipes and they will be making their way to the blog shortly. This is the first recipe I made. Still have half a papaya left for more experiments.
Green Papaya Salad
- Half a green papaya (I suspect the papaya I bought was about 1.5kg and I bought it from an Asian supermarket. I see them fairly often at Asian grocers/ fruit and veg stores)
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup coriander or mint or any other micro herbs
- 1/2 cup bean spouts (optional)
- 4 tbsp crushed peanuts (optional)
- 1 roasted beetroot/ carrot (wrap beetroot or carrot in foil and roast for 40 mins in oven at 180C/355F)
- 1 tsp plum/ apricot jam (optional)
Note: This recipe is versatile. You can add a whole bunch of different items to change it up a bit. I have listed optional items above that will go well with this salad.
- Mandolin or shredder (optional)
- Peel the papaya with a knife and rinse well to remove the sap.
- Use a spoon to scrape and remove the white seeds and any stringy bits
- Use a mandolin or shredder to slice/ grate the papaya. If you don’t have either, slice the papaya as thinly as you can, then julienne it.
- Marinade the papaya with vinegar/ lemon juice, water, salt and sugar and mix well. Leave it to rest for 10mins, and toss it again, resting for another 10 mins.
- If using beetroot or carrot, julienne it after roasting.
- Drain marinade (reserve the liquid) from papaya strips then mix papaya with all remaining ingredients (excluding jam).
- I like to mix the leftover marinade with 1 tsp of plum/ apricot jam to drizzle over the salad.
- Serve with roasted pork belly. This sweet and sour salad is a great match with roasted meats.