Vietnamese Papaya Salad

As Hop Nguyen, from Bac Ninh province, Vietnam, showed Lindsay Sterling in Yarmouth, ME, February 7, 2010.

Makes: 4 servings as appetizer or side salad
Active time: 20 minutes
Note: To find a green, unripe papaya for this dish, you may luck out at your mainstream supermarket. If not, Google your location and "Asian Market" to find an Asian market near you or try ordering green papaya online. Whole green papayas are large, firm, and have green skin. Some Asian markets sell freshly shredded papaya. It looks like light green spaghetti noodles and is ready for making the salad.


  • 1 lb. shredded green papaya
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp salt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 heaven point chili pepper, diced
  • 1 c. raw peanuts
  • large handful fresh thai basil, cilantro, or mint leaves


1. Toast peanuts dry in a saute pan until fragrant. Peel carrot with a peeler and cut the peels into shoelaces. You want about 1 cup shredded.

2. Soak papaya and carrot in salt water (1 Tbsp salt) in large mixing bowl for about ten minutes to begin to soften. While they’re soaking, put peanuts in a quart size ziplock bag with towel over it and tap with a meat grinder until peanuts are the size of small gems. If you want to make a fancy garnish, carve carrot into flower.

4. Strain carrot and papaya. Squeeze handfuls of them hard and you’ll wring almost a cup of water out. Mix in salt, then sugar, then lemon juice. Mix until you see the papaya start to become more limp. Strain remaining liquid and mix in peanuts.

5. Serve topped with whole leaves of fresh cilantro, basil, or mint, and your decorative carrot-flower