Green Papaya Salad


I mentioned yesterday that, among other things, Bill made a green papaya salad as part of our dinner on Sunday.  He makes this nearly every time he does an Asian market trip, as long as they have green papayas available.  And they pretty much always do.

I’m posting the recipe and a picture at the request of Amanda N.  Hope this is what you’re looking for, Amanda!

The recipe we use comes from Keo’s Thai Cuisine, by Keo Sananikone.  Bill sometimes adds cilantro if we have some out in the garden, and he also mentioned this morning that the amount of liquid could be reduced, especially if you won’t be eating the whole thing in one sitting.  If the salad sits, say, overnight, then the bottom portion, which is sitting in the liquid, tends to get mushy.  We actually place any leftover salad in a Tupperware steamer so the liquid drains out and the papaya stays crisp.  Then, when it’s time to serve it again, we just toss it all – liquid and papaya – together again.

Here’s the recipe, as Bill made it the other day:

1 green papaya, peeled, seeds removed, flesh shredded.  We use the shredding attachment on our food processor, but you can shred it the old fashioned way with a box grater as well.  About 2 lbs flesh. 

4 cloves garlic

8-12 red chili peppers, seeded and chopped.  We used some cayenne that we’d frozen from our garden, and maybe a habanero or two. 

1 large tomato, sliced in strips

4-8 tablespoons fish sauce

about 3/4 cup lime juice

lime wedges and red chili peppers to garnish


Grind together the garlic and chili peppers – we use a mortar and pestle; you can use a food processor as well. 

Combine lime juice and fish sauce.

In a large bowl, combine papaya, tomato slices, and garlic/chili mixture.  Just before serving, toss this together with the lime juice/fish sauce.


And that’s it.  Really easy, incredibly flavorful.  We had some alongside the pho at dinner, and the bright, crisp flavors of the salad were a nice contrast with the richness of the broth and the slight fattiness of some of the cooked meat, tendon and marrow we had in the pho. 

We’re also thinking this would work really nicely in a Thai-inspired fish taco.  More on that once we’ve tried it out.


One thought on “Green Papaya Salad

  1. A thousand thank yous to you!
    That looks just like the one I used to order. I love the spice and how crunchy and clean it tastes. It is actually the last thing I ate the night before I gave birth. I was being induced, but since I read spicy foods send some people into labor, I thought it might help things along. (I did have a very easy delivery-must have been the salad.) My momma and I were both “born without the cilantro gene,” as she says, so I always ordered it without. Thank you so much for the recipe, and so quickly too. I can’t wait to make it.

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