A tropical fruit, fresh papaya improves digestion and is brimming with key antioxidants, flavonoids , vitamin C + other essential minerals.
Papaya is trending with Asian fusion. So it makes for light bright summer salads and toppings.
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There’s Green Papaya Salad and then there’s Spicy Green Salad. Great as small plate too.
Spicy Green Papaya Salad
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 Thai chiles, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 pounds green papaya—
peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/4-by-1/4-inch sticks
1 firm, barely ripe mango—peeled, sliced off the pit and cut into 1 1/4-by-1/4-inch sticks
1/4 cup shredded mint leaves
salt to taste
In a blender, puree the lime juice with the garlic, fish sauce, sugar, chiles and ginger. In a large bowl, toss the papaya with the mango, cilantro and mint. Add the dressing and toss. Season with salt, toss again and serve. The green papaya salad can be refrigerated for up to 2 hours. Serve it slightly chilled.
NOTE: specialty shops or asian markets are best places to find green (unripe) papaya. Otherwise, substitute jicama or celery.
A piquant fruit that melds well with asian dishes
Papaya Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
(such as nam pla or nuoc nam)*
2 teaspoons hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)*
24 6-inch-diameter rice paper rounds**
24 large fresh basil leaves
48 large fresh mint leaves
48 small fresh cilantro sprigs
1 unpeeled English hothouse cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch-thick 2 1/2-inch-long strips
1 1/2 large firm but ripe papayas, halved lengthwise then crosswise, seeded, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick strips
Whisk first 5 ingredients in bowl. (Peanut sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Rewhisk before serving). Fill large bowl with warm water. Working in batches, soak 3 rice paper rounds in water until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove rounds from water and arrange in single layer on work surface. Place 1 basil leaf in center of each round. Place 2 mint leaves atop each basil leaf. Place 2 papaya strips, then
2 cucumber strips atop mint. Arrange 2 cilantro sprigs atop cucumber. Fold 1 edge of each round over filling. Fold in ends. Roll up rice paper rounds tightly, enclosing filling. Transfer to platter. Repeat with remaining rice paper rounds. Cover with moist paper towel, then plastic wrap; chill. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Keep chilled). Serve rolls with peanut sauce.
*Available at Asian markets and in the Asian foods section of many supermarkets.
**Thin Thai or Vietnamese wrappers made from rice flour and known as banh trang. Available at Asian markets and in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets.
Gold or Strawberry papayas are best for this Thai-style crab salad.
Charming when served in a papaya shell.
Thai-style Crab Salad in Papaya
2 ripe small papayas, halved lengthwise and seeded
1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 minced fresh serrano chile, including seeds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Whisk together vinegar, sugar, water, fish sauce, and salt in a bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add bell peppers, chile, cilantro, and crab and toss gently to combine.
Serve crab salad mounded in papaya halves.
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