Basil Papaya Salad


Basil Papaya Salad is one of my favorite Thai dishes.

It is a refreshing and flavor-filled dish that combines the wonderful spice of red chili, saltiness of fish sauce, tart flavor of green papaya and lime juice, and a hint of sweetness.

Without turning on the stove, it is a yummy treat that I enjoy in the hot summer days.  This is how I make it:

  • 1 small firm & green papaya, or about 4 cups shredded papaya
  • 1/2 cup peanuts or cashews
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 6-7 counts green beans, about a 1/2 cup when break into small segments
  • 1/2 cup dried shrimp
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce, to taste
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp brown/regular sugar (or about 1 unit of palm sugar)
  • some sesame cracker sheets

     

Papaya:  Peel the green skin using a peeler, discard skin.  Split in half, use a spoon to discard seeds.

        

Shred papaya using a peeler with zig-zag blade (a Mandoline Food Slicer or food processor -shredding blade gets the job done quicker).  Soak in cold water for 30 mins.  (can be shredded and store dry in a plastic bag in the fridge for one day before use)

  • Strain and dry the shredded papaya

    

Green Beans: Break up into about 1 inch length.  Blanch green beans -add water and some salt in a container with the beans (water just about level with beans), pop in microwave for about 50 seconds, drain and soak beans into ice water..

I think it tastes just the same uncooked, so I mash the them lightly to allow them to mingle with the dressing sauce.

  • Add green beans to the dry shredded papaya

    

Dressing sauce: In the mortar, lightly mash the dried shrimps to break them up a little.  Mash chilies in a corner of the same mortar (cut open the long side and omit the seeds for less heat before mashing).  Add lime juice, stir.  Add fish sauce, sugar.  Stir.  Taste.

    

Peanuts / Cashew nuts:  Toast in a pan over medium heat

  • Tear up the basil and mix in with shredded papaya
  • Pour the dressing sauce over shredded papaya, toss a few times for even coating & let sit about 10 mins. before diving in
  • Sprinkle the nuts over salad after dressing is added

     

Sesame cracker:  Pop one sheet in the microwave for about 45 seconds, makes good companion with papaya salad.  Fried rice is the other dish that I like to eat with this salad dish.

Happy eating!

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