Thai Green Papaya Salad (from bon Appetit) New England version

adapted from bon Appetit

Mostly local ingredients by volume–the exotic flavors make this a simple yet refreshing culinary “vacation” from mid-winter stews and gratins.  It’s surprising how delicious and satisfying this recipe can be using rutabaga instead of green papaya!

New England version substitutions in italics.

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons (packed) palm sugar or golden brown sugar (optional, often not needed when using rutebaga or Gilfeather as they are sweet already)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fish sauce (can use soy sauce or tamari, but not as authentic)
  • 2 tablespoons dried shrimp, chopped (optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Chinese long beans, halved crosswise or 15 green beans (optional)
  • 1 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound green papaya, peeled, halved, seeded (replace with grated rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, or even kohlrabi)
  • 10 large cherry tomatoes, halved (can use dried or canned tomatoes, cut very small, or powdered dehydrated-you want tomato flavor, but salad is satisfying without the fresh tomato texture)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 green onions, very thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 fresh red Thai chile with seeds, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped salted peanuts

special equipment

  • Julienne peeler or box grater (or peeler and food processor)
  • Ingredient tips

Palm sugar, fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc nam), dried shrimp, Chinese long beans, green papaya, and Thai chiles can all be found at Asian markets.

Preparation

  • Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Set dressing aside.
  • If using green beans, cook beans in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Cut into 2-inch pieces.
  • Peel enough papaya or rutebaga, Gilfeather, or kohlrabi to measure 6 cups. Place in large bowl. Add finely chopped tomato, cilantro, and chile, and optional green onions and green beans. Pour dressing over; toss. Sprinkle peanuts over and serve.

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