Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Green Papaya Salad

My part time job has become a full time job in the last few months, complete with my very own office. It's all very exciting. Another perk of the 9-5 is that once a week Mike shows up for a lunch date. We arrives right on time and with a bag of some delight or another. We close the door, break open the takeout dishes and catch up on the finer details of life like who has Dr's appointments and which kids will be late home from school. It's a fast paced life. I'm never quite sure what Mike will bring for lunch but one of my very favourite choices comes from the Thai restaurant around the corner from his office. My very favourite Green Papaya Salad!

Asian cooking can be a bit of a pricey affair if it is not routine to your kitchen. Specialty oils, sauces, and sometimes hard to find ingredients can deter even the most determined cook. Personally I think that fish sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, sriracha and so many other ingredients should be as common in a pantry as ketchup and peanut butter.

Here is a fabulous take on Green Papaya Salad that demands just a few ordinary ingredient you can pick up at any grocery store. The only item that might me a bit of a trick to locate is the Green Papaya. most Asian markets will carry it. Many thanks to the fine folks at Martin's Apples for putting me on to New City Market in downtown Kitchener. I found more than I went looking for! A note about green papayas; these are not the beautiful orange variety with the shiny black seeds. Green papaya are green on the outside and white/cream coloured inside. The seeds are perfect tiny white spheres.

Green Papaya Salad

1 large Green Papaya - peeled and seeds removed
the juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
1 glove garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2cup roasted cashews
1/4 cup cilantro rough chopped

Shred the papaya into spaghetti thin strips. (a mandolin is the perfect  tool for the job)
in a small bowl whisk together lime, chili sauce, garlic and salt
pour over shredded papaya.
add cashews and cilantro. toss well to coat

This salad is crunchy with a bit of heat balanced with the freshness of the cilantro.

You will find many recipes for Green Papaya Salad - if you have the bottles of fish sauce, dried shrimp and Thai chilies on hand try a few different authentic recipes - find one you love. This recipe is not traditional but is delicious, and super for a busy weeknight dinner. Be careful you might just get the kids hooked on trying something new at the same time. Add some grilled chicken strips and you have a meal.

It's so worth making a double batch just to make sure you have left overs for lunch the next day.

Live well, eat well, laugh often