Umami Recipes
Umami Recipes

Asian

Night + Market Green Papaya Salad

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Ingredients

5 tablespoons fish sauce

5 tablespoons coconut or palm sugar

4 garlic cloves, peeled but kept whole

3 fresh bird’s eye chiles, or to taste, stemmed

16 green beans, cut into 3-inch lengths

½ cup shredded carrot

3 cups shredded green papaya (about one-third of a 1½-pound papaya)

3 tablespoons lime juice

½ cup Seasoned Fried Peanuts

4 small Roma (plum) tomatoes, cut into wedges

Directions

In a saucepan, combine the fish sauce and coconut sugar and cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar is melted and the sauce begins to thicken slightly. Remove from the heat and let the fish sauce syrup cool.

Mortar and Pestle Method: Before you start throwing things in the mortar, arrange your mise en place in this order: garlic, chiles, green beans, carrot, green papaya, fish sauce syrup, lime juice, peanuts, and tomatoes. Hold the pestle in your dominant hand and a spoon in the other. Rather than pounding straight down, you’re going to push the pestle down the sides of the mortar. Throw in the garlic and pound until it becomes a rough, pulpy mash. Add the chiles—pound them heavily if you prefer it spicy, or gently if you want it less spicy. Add the green beans, carrots, and green papaya, bruising lightly with the pestle and mixing with the spoon for about 10 seconds between each addition. Add the lime juice and fish sauce syrup, pound, and mix for another 10 seconds. Add the peanuts and tomatoes and repeat. Everything in the mortar other than the chiles and garlic should be bruised but intact. Don’t overpound. If you want to mix a handful of other ingredients you can stir them in at this point, adjusting the seasoning as needed.

Bowl Method: Combine the fish sauce syrup, lime juice, garlic, and chiles in a blender or food processor and blend until the garlic and chiles are totally pulverized. This is your som tum dressing and it can be refrigerated until you’re ready to make the salad. In a mixing bowl, combine the papaya, carrots, and dressing. Using your hands, stir, mix, and squeeze the shredded salad to infuse the dressing and mimic the bruising of the mortar and pestle. Lightly crush the peanuts and toss in, along with the tomatoes. Transfer the salad to a plate and serve with sticky rice.

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