Fork and Beans

Health begins in the Kitchen

Green Papaya Salad

This delicious vegan recipe for Thai Green Papaya Salad is everything you could possibly want from a salad: crunchy, sweet, sour, spicy and salty

Ingredients

For Tamarind Water

  • ▢½ teaspoon tamarind – dried
  • ▢2 tablespoons water

Other Ingredients

  • ▢2.5 cups shredded unripe papaya – 400 grams
  • ▢½ teaspoon chopped garlic or 2 medium garlic cloves
  • ▢3 to 4 bird’s eye chillies can add less or more as required
  • ▢1 tomato – small sized or 2 to 3 cherry tomatoes
  • ▢2 to 3 long beans or green beans – optional
  • ▢2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
  • ▢2 tablespoons soy sauce – naturally brewed or fermented
  • ▢2 tablespoons palm sugar or add as required
  • ▢2 tablespoons lemon juice or add as required
  • ▢sea salt as per taste

For Garnish

  • ▢1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts or crushed peanuts
  • ▢1 to 2 tablespoons cilantro – optional

Instructions

Making Tamarind Water

  • For tamarind water, soak the dried tamarind in the hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Squeeze the tamarind and add the pulp to the water. Set aside.

Grating Green Papaya

  • Rinse, pat dry and peel the unripe green papaya. Halve it vertically. Remove any of the tiny white seeds and pith. Grate or shred using a food processor or a box grater.

Making Salad Dressing

  • In a mortar, take the birds eye chillies and garlic cloves. Using a pestle and mortar, mash the bird’s eye chilies and garlic together. If using long beans, then add 2 to 3 beans (chopped) at this step. 
  • Add the prepared tamarind water, palm sugar, soy sauce, lemon juice and sea salt as needed to the mortar. Mash and mix everything to a loose paste. 
  • Add chopped tomato or halved cherry tomatoes. Mash the tomatoes a bit, but not too much.

Making Papaya Salad

  • Pour dressing mixture in the bowl containing the shredded papaya. Mix very well and mash a bit to soften the unripe papaya. Check the taste and add more salt, palm sugar, lemon juice, crushed bird’s eye chillies or tamarind pulp if needed.

How to Make Green Papaya Salad

Make Tamarind Water

1. For tamarind water, soak ½ teaspoon dried tamarind in 2 tablespoons hot water for 15 to 20 minutes.

dried tamarind soaking in hot water

2. Squeeze the tamarind with clean fingers and add the pulp to the water in the bowl. Set aside.

tamarind water after soaking and removing pulp

Grate Papaya

3. Rinse, pat dry and peel small to medium green papaya (400 grams). Halve it vertically. Remove any of the tiny white seeds and pith. Grate or shred using a food processor or a box grater.

shredded green papaya in a yellow bowl

Make Green Papaya Salad Dressing

4. In a mortar, take 3 to 4 small bird’s eye chillies, roughly chopped and 2 medium garlic cloves.

garlic cloves and bird's eye chilis in a mortar

5. Using a pestle and mortar, mash the bird’s eye chilies and garlic together. If using long beans, then add 2 to 3 beans (chopped) at this step. 

garlic and chilis after being mashed with mortar and pestle

6. Add the following savory ingredients. Mash and mix everything to a loose paste. 

  • prepared tamarind water or ½ to 1 tablespoon packaged tamarind sauce (adjust depending on the sourness)
  • 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar (replace with brown sugar or coconut sugar or white sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free dressing)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • sea salt as needed (or kosher salt, Himalayan pink salt or edible food grade rock salt)
tamarind water, palm sugar, soy sauce, lemon juice and sea salt added to mashed garlic and chile

7. Add 1 small chopped tomato or 3 to 4 halved cherry tomatoes. 

tomatoes added to mortar with som tam dressing ingredients

8. Mash the tomatoes a bit, but not too much. 

lightly mashed tomatoes in mortar with green papaya salad dressing

Make Green Papaya Salad

9. Pour this mixture in the bowl containing the shredded papaya.

som tam dressing added to green papaya in yellow bowl

10. Mix very well and mash a bit to soften the unripe papaya. Check the taste and add more salt, palm sugar, lemon juice, crushed bird’s eye chillies or tamarind pulp if needed.

green papaya salad after being tossed with som tam dressing in yellow bowl

11. Serve garnished with 1 tablespoon chopped or crushed roasted peanuts and 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (coriander leaves). Enjoy!

overhead shot of vegan Thai green papaya salad garnished with roasted peanuts and fresh cilantro leaves