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Any good grilled meat dish deserves a worthy side. And in this simple papaya side recipe, we will show you how to add some heat, zest, and crispness to any meat platter without spending more than 15 minutes on preparation.
Note that this is not the Thai green papaya salad, aka som tam. If you’re looking for a green papaya salad with green beans/long beans, dried shrimp, roasted peanuts and cherry tomatoes, check out this recipe — it’s the Cambodian version.
Papaya Side — Essentials
This papaya side shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes to prepare, but you should take note of the following two essentials before you start.
Choose an Unripe Papaya
Make sure you choose a truly unripe papaya. Often, even the green papayas you’ll find at the supermarket end up semi-ripe (i.e. yellow inside and a bit sweet), which makes them unusable for this papaya salad. To make sure that the papaya’s looks don’t deceive you, take the time to feel the papaya before you buy it. If the papaya is even a little bit soft, move on — the ripening process has started and it’s likely sweeter than you’d want it for this salad recipe.
Use a Quality Julienne Peeler
A quality julienne peeler will help you slice the green papaya into perfectly-shaped, thin, crisp strands. You may be tempted to use a grater, but doing so will turn your papaya into a wet, mangled mess. That’s why we urge you to opt for the julienne peeler instead.
A quality julienne peeler will help you slice the green papaya into perfectly-shaped, thin, crisp strands.
Papaya Side Dish Recipe
Green Papaya Side Dish
- julienne peeler
- 5 cloves Garlic
- 2 tbsp Fish sauce
- 1 tbsp Brown sugar Alternatively, you can use 1 pod of palm sugar
- 2 tbsp White vinegar Fresh lime juice is an alternative
- 1 Green, unripe papaya
- 3 Cucumbers Baby cucumbers work best
- 1 Carrot
- 1 bulb Shallots
- Peel the skin from the green papaya, then use the julienne peeler to julienne it into thin -- but crunchy -- strands.
- Julienne a full carrot using the same method described above.
- Slice the cucumbers into 2-inch long pieces, then cut lengthwise into fours.
- Clean and chop the shallot bulb.
- Clean the garlic cloves, them cut them into thin slices.
- Cut the chillies into thin slices.
- Combine the papaya, carrot, cucumbers, shallots, garlic, and chillies into a bowl.
- Add sugar, MSG, vinegar (or fresh lime juice) and fish sauce to the bowl and mix everything together.
- Your unripe papaya salad is ready to be served!
Serving the Green Papaya Side
This green papaya side is best served as a side for any fried or grilled meat dish. In Cambodia, this green papaya side is a particularly popular side dish for grilled beef skewers — it’s crispy tartness is a delightful complement to the charred, greasy beef. That said, the papaya side is a scrumptious addition to fried or grilled chicken, pork, fish, and is a classic ingredient in Cambodian num pang sandwiches.
FAQs About Preparing Green Papaya Side
What is papaya good for?
Papaya is good for supplementing your daily vitamin and mineral intake. Unripe papaya has a rich vitamin and mineral profile, including a high content of the following nutrients:
- Vitamin C — Each 100 grams of green papaya contains roughly 60 milligrams of Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid), which makes up 100% of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin C is vital for cell growth, repair, and development, and helps the body absorb iron.
- Vitamin A — Green papaya contains about 47 micrograms of Vitamin A per 100 grams, which adds up to 19% of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin A is good for vision, cell growth, reproductive health, and the immune system.
- Folate — Green papaya’s folate content is roughly 37 micrograms per 100 grams, or just under 10% of the recommended daily intake. Folate plays a vital role in the production of red and white blood cells and helps transform carbohydrates into energy.
- Potassium — There’s 182 milligrams of potassium in each 100 grams of unripe papaya — that’s approximately 5% of the recommended daily intake. Potassium helps regulate bodily fluids, muscles, and nerves, and is essential for the function of the heart, kidneys, and other organs.
- Magnesium — Each 100 grams of unripe papaya contains 21 milligrams of magnesium, or 5% of the recommended daily intake. Magnesium aids muscle movements, repairs DNA and RNA, regulates the nervous system, and enhances brain function.
These vitamins and minerals help facilitate and improve various bodily functions, so adding this papaya salad to your dishes definitely gives your body a small — but important — health boost. Particularly, the high Vitamin C content is helpful if you’re pairing this green papaya side dish with iron-rich meat dishes, as Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from other food sources.
How do you cut papaya for a papaya side dish?
For this green papaya side, the papaya should be cut with a julienne peeler. The shredded green papaya retains a crisp texture, but also absorbs all the flavours or the salad.
What do you eat with papaya side?
This green papaya side is perfect for any grilled, or fried meat dish. In Cambodia, street vendors will offer you a little plastic bag with this green papaya salad anytime you buy barbecued beef skewers or grilled chicken.
What are the disadvantages of eating papaya?
The disadvantages of eating papaya (unripe papaya) is the latex content in unripe papaya. This latex can cause allergic reactions in some people, and is particularly harmful for pregnant women. Latex can not only harm the fetus, but also stimulate contractions during pregnancy, which is why it’s not recommended to eat this unripe papaya salad while expecting.
Green Papaya Side: Parting Words
We hope our green papaya side will be a hit at your next barbecue. Have you tried making this recipe yet? Is there another grilled meat side dish you’d recommend? Leave us a comment below!