Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam) with Grilled Squid and Shrimp

So we've been cooking quite a bit of chicken dishes lately, as shown in the last 5 or 6 entries of this blog. Time to move on to something different.
Green papaya salad, as you would suspect, is healthy, light, and refreshing. Add squid and shrimp to the salad, and you got yourself a complete lunch you won't feel guilty about.

  • 3 cups shredded/julienned green papaya*
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded/julienned
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-5 red Thai chiles (depending on how spicy you want your salad to be)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus 1 tablespoons for squid and shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (Nam Pla)
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar (use brown sugar for substitute)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fried onions
  • 3 tablespoons cracked peanuts
  • 10 medium sized shrimp, shelled, tail still intact
  • 10 pieces of squid, cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Place shrimp on 2 skewers, and squid on another 2 skewers. Mix olive oil with 1 tablespoon lime juice and brush over squid and shrimp. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until done (squid will cook very quick, do not over cook), cool down. Remove seafood from skewers. Set aside.
  • Place green papaya, carrot, and tomatoes in a large salad bowl. Using a mortar, crush red chile peppers and garlic into a paste. Add lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, and whisk together until combined. Pour the dressing over salad, toss together to combine. 
  • Separate salad into individual plates. Sprinkle with cilantro, basil, fried onions, and cracked peanuts. Serve with grilled squid and shrimp.
* I found that the best method to do this is by using a mandolin (which frankly, I both love and hate!). Large cheese grater doesn't produce the beautiful noodle-like look I was aiming for. If your mandolin doesn't have small julienne attachment, simply slice your papaya thinly and proceed to julienne using a sharp knife. It takes time but it's worth the effort.
Make sure you wear hand protection (thick glove, etc) when operating mandolin. This bugger is the most dangerous kitchen item I own. Lost skin on my knuckles many times, no thanks to it!

Serve 4 as main dish

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