Try this Green Papaya Salad where vegetables combine with salty and sweet and a hint of spiciness in a plate that can be served as a salad, or a light side dish.
When life gives me delectable, ripe, and sweet papaya, I make batida de lechosa. And when I pick papaya that looks like it's just perfect but turned out not to be ready when I open it, I come up with a new and amazing summer papaya salad to serve these hot days.
Eating unripe papaya is not new to us Dominicans. We use them to make dulce en almibar (a dessert). In Asia, it's used in savory dishes, notably, the Vietnamese and Thai (som tam) green papaya salads.
Can green papaya be eaten raw?
Eating raw unripe papaya is not advised for some people (like pregnant women, and people with certain allergies) . In any case, this recipe includes the step of cooking it, though briefly so it doesn't turn mushy. Consult your doctor if you have any doubts.
About this recipe
I am not new to putting fruits in savory dishes (like mango, pineapple, starfruit, and watermelon, these are just a few). At home, papayas get eaten practically out of the supermarket bag, but this one wasn't good for it and I wasn't going to throw it away. So I borrowed inspiration from Asian cuisine and combined it with ingredients that I already had in my fridge and pantry.
This papaya salad is a play in contrast: crispy, cold, raw vegetables flavored with soy sauce combined with brown sugar, and the kick provided by a sprinkle of chili flakes.
It can be served as a salad, but more often than not I serve it as a side dish in the summer, same as some of my other favorite cabbage dishes.
[Recipe + Video] Vegan Green Papaya Salad
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes, double if you're a fan of spicy food
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, plus extra for garnishing
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil, plus 3 extra tablespoons for serving
- 1 large carrots, cut into thin strips (see notes)
- ½ small papaya, cut into thin strips (see notes)
- ⅓ small cabbage, cut into thin strips (see notes)
- 2 small cucumbers, cut into thin strips (see notes)
- Mix dressing: Combine soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of water, sugar, chili flakes, sesame seeds, and sesame oil. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Heating: Heat the dressing over medium-low heat, and simmer until it has reduced to half the liquid.Stir in the carrot, papaya, and cabbage, coating with the sauce, and cooking until it is heated through (2-3 mins) and reduced a bit in volume, but still has some crunchiness to it (about 2 mins). Remove from the heat. Move the vegetables to a bowl (discard the liquid left in the pan) and let them cool to room temperature.
- Serving: Toss the cucumbers with the cooled vegetables. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of sesame oil.
Notes and Tips
- Healthline - 8 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Papaya