I know what you’re thinking…”where the fuck am I meant to find a papaya?” Which is fair, given most of our readers are UK based and papaya is a fruit most familiar with the tropics. But you needn’t panic. I live in Dudley – a large town in the Midlands – and I found it relatively easy to find one at a local Asian supermarket.
If anything, to buy this papaya will be an excuse to go and marvel at all the wondrously diverse range of products in one of these supermarkets. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably just go around snapchatting pictures of Dreamy Pie to all your friends with the description: “You”, because you’re wholesome like that.
At the age of 18 I went on a solo travelling trip to Thailand and spots of Malaysia for a month to find myself (I didn’t) and enliven my tastebuds. Unfortunately for me, at this time I was mostly concerned with preventing things from going into my mouth so that I could go back looking skinnier than I left, rather than taking advantage of a beautiful opportunity to sample food I never could in the UK.
Although my trip was gastronomically-restrained, I do remember trying a spicy papaya salad in a beach hut in Phuket (I know) and suddenly found myself wondering why I had never enjoyed spicy food until now. I remember the salad being light, tangy and sharp with mounds of squidgy, fire-engine red tomatoes floating through the noodles of papaya. It was nothing like I’d tasted before.
Since that experience, I’d had one other brilliant papaya salad bold enough to stand up to my first in a tiny Thai restaurant in Bethnal Green in London. That was until I recently recreated the dish in my own home…with the sweet addition of one Pink Lady apple.
I found this julienne peeler for thinly shredding the unripened papaya and apple at the same oriental supermarket described above, but I see that they also sell on Amazon.
Here’s what to do:
Serves approx 2-3 people.
1. Slice the chillies finely and chop the green beans into pieces roughly one inch in length.
2. Crush the garlic and bash together using the pestle and mortar along with the chillies and green beans. Do this until the beans start to break up.
3. Chop the tomatoes into quarters and add to a large bowl with the crushed garlic, chillies and green beans. Add the fish sauce, palm sugar and half the juice of a lime and mix together.
4. Shred the papaya (judge how much you need as you go) and the apple and add to the bowl. Mix again.
5. Top with roasted peanuts and serve with the other half of the lime.