This is an awesome little salad that is quick to make and boasts a variety of flavors and textures. Green papaya offers great structure as a base for the multifaceted sweet, sour, and salty dressing. Do your best not to be squeamish about including the dried shrimp, as they add a distinctly sweet flavor and and a great texture that can’t be replicated. You may end up liking the shrimp as much as I do, which means you’ll find ways to sneak them into other dishes. The shrimp are sometimes sold in bags (note the storage instructions for a laugh), or together with dried chilies and/or shallots in jars. Both are wonderful.
You can make short work of the vegetables by using a mandoline slicer to julienne them, but if you don’t have one, simply peel the papaya and carrot into long strips with your vegetable peeler. This will make for a lovely presentation in its own right.
Serve this salad alongside some marinated and grilled chicken, pork, or tofu.
Green Papaya Salad:
2 medium or 1 large green papaya, peeled and julienned
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
half a small bunch of cilantro sprigs, leaves and top few inches of stem only
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. hot water
2 tsp. fish sauce
1 – 2 tsp. chile sauce (optional)
large handful dried shrimp, chopped
large handful salted cashews, chopped
Julienne or peel the papaya and carrot into strips and set aside in a bowl. Mix the lime juice, honey, hot water, and fish sauce together and stir to dissolve. Stir in the chile sauce, if using. Pour the dressing over the papaya and carrot and toss to combine thoroughly. Gently toss in the cilantro sprigs and transfer the salad to a bowl or platter. Sprinkle with the chopped dried shrimp and nuts to finish.