Green papaya is exactly what it sounds like—an unripe papaya. In this traditional Thai dish—known as Som Tum—it is shredded and mixed with lime juice, spicy chilies, tomato, long beans and usually fish sauce although I always ask them to leave that off of course. Green papaya has a texture like cabbage, and if done right, is yummy scrumbos. (If you know this reference, I will marry you.)
Below is a vegan recipe for Som Tum which I adapted from the New York Times but rarely make because green papayas are hard to find around here! Also I subbed out their long beans for edamame to give the dish a protein kick. This is not traditional, but whatever, I do what I want!
Vegan Som Tum
Serves: 4/ Prep Time: 15 minutes/ Cook Time: 5 minutes
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp dry-roasted salted peanuts, plus more for garnish
3 fresh chilies, diced
1/2 tsp agave
4 tbsp fresh lime juice (I like it really limey)
1 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
1 cup edamame
1 medium green (unripe) papaya
½ cup bean sprouts
Lettuce or kale for serving
In a blender, blend garlic, salt, peanuts, chilies, lime juice and agave into a paste.
Put in a bowl and add tomatoes, bean sprouts and edamame. Mash the tomatoes a bit with a spoon so they are juicy.
Peel carrot. Peel papaya, cut in half and get rid of the seeds and insides. Shred carrot and papaya, using a hand grater or your food processor, if you have one.
Add papaya and carrot to your bowl and toss. If you’re making it pretty, line a bowl or platter with your lettuce or kale. Pile up your papaya salad on it and sprinkle with your extra peanuts.