Green Papaya: Fruit or Veg?

As someone who tries to eat local organic food as much as possible, it has been a bit of a challenge figuring out what to do with some of the local fruits here. I mean, we don’t have local bananas, soursop, pineapples and papayas in Detroit. Because, you know, they don’t grow there. Lucky for me, I love me a good challenge!

One thing I really love that is hard to find in  Michigan is green papaya salad. Typically you might find this on the menu in a Vietnamese or Thai restaurant, but it’s sort of rare to see them in Detroit. Too bad because that is one delicious salad! Although papaya is a fruit, when picked young it has a mild taste and crunchy texture and is used as a vegetable in Asian cooking.

At the farmer’s markets here in Hawaii, you can often find shredded green papaya in bags. This is super handy if you don’t want to shred the papaya yourself. However, we scored this amazing peeler set when we went to the Kakaako market one Saturday, it’s called the Wiki Wiki peeler set and it is amazing! Look what it did to our papaya…

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The Wiki Wiki took the outer skin off this papaya like nobody’s business
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Then the second peeler turned the papaya into perfect shreds… what the what?

I think it’s the serrated blades on this thing that make it so amazing. I can’t believe I’m so excited about a vegetable peeler, but, come on! That is pretty cool if I do say so myself!

Another thing we bought at the farmer’s market was Hawaiian chili pepper water. It’s a condiment that is used a lot here and, I have to tell you, I am addicted! I will try and figure out a recipe one day so that everyone can share in my joy. It’s not a traditional ingredient in green papaya salad but I personally think it should be. Our family agrees. Even my mother-in-law said that she likes my green papaya salad better than the ones in the restaurants here. I am giving credit to the chili pepper water for that!

Green Papaya Salad

Salad:

1 green papaya, shredded

1/2 cup Chinese parsley (cilantro), chopped

5 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup

1/2 Japanese cucumber (or any small seeded cucumber such as English), thinly sliced

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half (optional)

1/2 cup chopped peanuts (roasted and salted)

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Assemble salad ingredients in a large bowl. This may be done up to one day ahead of time (except wait to add peanuts until just before serving)

 

 

 

 

Dressing:

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Make sure to warn your guests not to eat the chili pepper (unless they love spice). You can also remove it just before adding the dressing to the salad.

1/3 cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon shoyu or soy sauce

1 Tablespoon Hawaiian chilipepper water (or 1 teaspoon hot sauce mixed with 2 teaspoons water)

2 limes, juiced (about 1/4 cup)

1 Hawaiian or Thai chilli pepper, cut in half and seeded

2 drops Young Living lime essential oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together well in a small bowl then pour over salad. Toss well and serve.

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Come to mama you delicious salad!

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