Thai green papaya salad

I know a lot of bloggers who follow a structure, who have a plan and I am sadly not one of them.. as yet (shows my hope here :)). My new blog posts are primarily triggered by seeing a vegetable or an ingredient at a grocery store or when I see some really nice food post on insta or when my MIL/ mom plan to make something that I want to document (both of them dread when I tell them I want to document a dish of theirs :)). This thai green papaya salad falls in the first category – I saw this raw/ green papaya a few weeks back (this dish is a late post yet again) which was right in every way for me & my family. It was the right size to begin with (not too big, not too small), it was firm (I knew I could keep it for a few days just like that in the fridge without worrying about it getting spoilt) & It was the ‘Indian’ variety. As lame as that may sound, I have never purchased green papaya before & the only ones that my MIL has purchased earlier were all cultivated in India. So, we obviously didn’t know how the other variants would taste & we didn’t wanna risk it the first time we were buying in Dubai. The minute I decided to buy this papaya, I knew I was going to make this salad. Did my research and decided to follow this particular recipe I came across. Boy oh boy, the salad was extremely delish & was really liked by us all. As funny as it sounds, this took a bit of time for me. Maybe cos, I shredded the whole papaya at one go in order to make enough for all of us & maybe cos I religiously stuck to the idea of pounding each and every ingredient of the salad when my MIL kept telling me to use a potato masher (for next time, I am surely going with the potato masher). Anywho, all I can say is that it was totally worth it & I would definitely make this dish another time. I don’t know if this is how the authentic thai green papaya salad tastes considering I didn’t add any fish sauce at all but this salad turned out really awesome even though it is vegan. So, the next time you guys lay your eyes on the green papaya, don’t get intimidated by it (I was.. for a longgggg time) and just buy it. My cousin had bought me this juliene peeler as a gift from Swiss a few years back & I finally put it to good use :). Thanks Mad for the awesome peeler.

Note for dummies like me – Thick skinned veggies like green papaya, butternut squash (any squash/ pumpkin varieties for that matter), don’t struggle with a knife to take the skin out. Just use a regular good peeler and peel the skin off. Soooooooooooo simple & soooooooo easy & sooooo fast :).

Thai green papaya salad
Prep Time
30 mins
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 8 servings
  • 500 gms raw/ green papaya
  • 1 no carrot
  • 1 cup tender beans
  • 8-10 nos cherry tomatoes
  • 3 nos green chillies
  • 2 cloves garlic
For the dressing
  • 3/4 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 nos lemon squeeze
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp dark soya sauce
  • salt (as per taste)
  1. Using a regular peeler, peel the skin of the green papaya. Cut the papaya vertically into equal halves. If there are any seeds, remove them. 

  2. Rest the sturdy side of each half & using a julienne peeler, julienne/ shred the papaya. Place the shreds in a large bowl. 

  3. Repeat this process for carrots & shred them all. Add them to the bowl. 

  4. If you have tender beans, you can skip the step of microwaving them. Else, cut the beans into long pieces, wash & microwave at high for 2 minutes on a microwaveable plate. Add them to the bowl. 

  5. De-seed & chop up the cherry tomatoes. Add it to the bowl. 

  6. Chop up the green chillies & garlic to fine bits. Add them to the bowl. 

  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients - tamarind pulp, lemon juice, maple syrup (or any other sweetener), dark soya sauce, some salt & some water to thin the dressing. Set it aside. 

  8. In a separate large bowl, start by pounding green chillies & garlic. The pounding process is done to release the flavours of the veggies in the salad. 

  9. Proceed pounding the carrots, raw papaya & beans. 

  10. Pour the dressing in & mix well till the whole salad is coated with the dressing. 

  11. Cover the bowl with a lid/ cling wrap & refrigerate for a few hours (this helps in releasing the flavours even further). 

  12. Finally, before you serve the salad, cut up a handful of peanuts & toss it in the salad. There you go, healthy stuff that won't make you feel like you are eating healthy stuff :). 

Recipe Notes
  1. You can use a potato masher & lightly mash the veggies instead of using a heavy duty pounding appliance :). My mil kept telling me that it will be easier to do it that way & I just didn't bother following her advise sadly. 
  2. The next time, I try this not only am I going to use a potato masher, I am also not going to separately pound each veggie. I am just gonna go around roughly working my way with the potato masher on the whole bowl of veggies at one go. 
  3. You can use honey/ sugar instead of maple syrup. 
  4. If you don't have tamarind pulp, you can soak a small piece (the size of grape) in 1 tbsp of warm water & then squeeze the tamarind.
  5. If you don't have a julienne peeler, you can use a mandolin. 

Stepwise pictures

Use a regular good peeler & peel the skin of the papaya.

the mottai green papaya for display :).

Now cut the papaya vertically into halves. Mine had no seeds inside but if yours contains some seeds, scoop it out.

Place the sturdy side of the papaya half on a vegetable chopping board/ smooth surface & shred/ julienne the papaya using a julienne peeler. If you don’t have a julienne peeler, you can use a shredder/ mandolin.

Just keep working your way through the papaya peeling one layer at a time.

And ta-da, the beautiful green papaya shreds ready. I think this alone took me 10-15 minutes. I am sure it would have taken less for my mom/ mil.

Repeat the same process with the carrots now. Peel the skin off carrot. Cut them in half horizontally & vertically. Julienne them.

The carrot shreds are now ready too.

If you can get hold of nice thin fresh green beans, please do so. Mine weren’t great & so I decided to microwave them for a few minutes (bad idea & I don’t recommend this since the taste of beans was lost in the salad).


The microwaved product which wasn’t really tasty. I washed the beans & cut it up into long pieces & then microwaved at high for a total of 2 minutes.

Added the beans to the bowl of veggies along with de-seeded & quartered cherry tomatoes.

I took a wide bowl & placed the finely chopped green chillies & garlic.

Pounded them with this thick stick my mil has for mixing heavy duty vadaam (indian crisps).

Add each veggie (it was carrot & beans’ turn) & repeated the pounding process. Pounding helps release the flavours of the veggies. Instead of pounding, you could use a masher.

Add the carrots & papaya. Continue pounding. 

In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients under the ‘for the dressing’ section.

Pour the dressing on the salad & continue pounding for a minute till everything is well incorporated.

Check & adjust the salt at this stage.

Refrigerate for a few hours before serving. That way the flavour of the salad is even better.

Before serving, chop up some peanuts & add it on to the salad.

Serve the salad chill. This one is so yummm. I had this for lunch (atleast on 2 days :)).

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