Sunday, February 4, 2007

Spicy Papaya Salad

1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 to 2 tsp coarsley chopped fresh hot green chiles, such as Thai
chiles, serranos or jalapenos
1 1/2 cups shredded green papaya
2 Tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp coarsley chopped roasted, salted peanuts
6 to 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
several fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths

To prepare using a mortar and pestle, combine the garlic and chiles in a large, heavy mortar and use the pestle to pound and grind them to a very coarse paste. Add the papaya, pounding, scraping and turning with a spoon every now and then, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the papaya shreds are wilting and seasoned.

If you do not have a mortar and pestle, use a rolling pin. Mince the garlic and chiles and place them in a medium bowl. Spread the papaya out on your cutting board, and light into it with the rolling pin for a minute or two, pressing down hard, and mowing back and forth. Stop to gather up the shreds, squeeze them, and spread them out again for another pass or two. When the shreds are wilted, transfer them to the bowl.

Add the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar to the papaya and use the pestle to press and grind the mixture a little, and a spoon to turn and mix everything well. Or use your hands to squeeze the mixture a few times and work in the seasoning.

Add the cherry tomatoes, peanuts and green beans, toss well, then mound the salad on a small serving platter, juices and all.

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