Monday, January 11, 2010
Papaya salad is definitely one of my favorite foods, it's at least on my top five list. I have to eat papaya salad at least every month. If it wasn't for the high salt content, this dish would be very healthy and I would eat it every week. I have never tasted consistent papaya salad, even from the best papaya salad maker. It always tastes different no matter how many times I have made it or when someone else makes it. I think it's because when this dish is made, the ingredients are just added as needed and rarely measured, so it's always different. A small amount of one ingredient will change this dish drastically. This is the first time I measured it and it turned out pretty good. I like to make my papaya salad "Thai" style with just a few extras. It is much more simple and does not involve a lot of the other ingredients.
Just use a teeny bit of shrimp paste as you see here. Too much will make the salad bitter:
1/2 clove of garlic
1-2 Thai chili peppers, depending on taste
1 tbsp of roasted peanuts
1 tsp tamarind
1 tsp palm sugar
shrimp paste (see picture)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 cup of shredded green papaya
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
1. Put garlic and Thai chili peppers to mortar. With pestle, smash the ingredients together until nicely blended so flavors mix.
2. Add the tamarind, palm sugar and shrimp paste. Pound with pestle until well blended with the other ingredients. Note: I shredded the palm sugar pictured above with a shredder to yield 1 tsp. I like to use the tamarind pictured above because it has a fresher taste than the already made tamarind mix that you find in the Asian stores.
3. Add the roasted peanuts, pound until well grounded.
4. Add the fish sauce and lime juice. Mix well with a spoon with the other ingredients.
5. Add the papaya and cherry tomatoes to the mix. With one hand holding a spoon and the other with the pestle, toss and pound all the ingredients together until well mixed and tomatoes are smashed. You do not want to pound the papaya too much as you want the papaya to have some crisp, but you do want it a little smashed so that the papaya will absorb the juices from all the other ingredients.
(Click on image for larger view.)
I ate mine with leftover salmon and rice I made last night. Papaya salad is usually served with cabbage. You would take a piece of cabbage leaf and use it as a spoon to scoop up some papaya salad into it and enjoy. The cabbage gives a nice crunch to the salad.