Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Burmese" Green Papaya Salad

Guest post number two from our favorite bread-bakin', scone creatin' vegetarian! This time she brings us a crispy crunchy citrusy salad delight. I'm personally excited about the prospect of incorporating deep fried chickpea flour batter or fermented tea leaves!! Thanks Heather!

In DC (or, more accurately, Silver Spring, MD), there is a delightful little Burmese restaurant called Mandalay that figured prominently as a date night location while The Husband and I were courting. All the food is delish, but I was always most impressed with the salads, which were huge and tasty and crunchy. While doing my weekly-ish gigantic Asian grocery store run, I spied a bag of pre-sliced green papaya, which in turn lead to this dish. It's nice and fresh and crisp, perfect for summer (or an Arizona winter). I added tofu to make it more of a main dish sort of salad; other things that would make nice additions include sliced tomatoes, gram fritters (essentially deep fried chickpea flour batter), fermented tea leaves, ginger, bean sprouts, etc. And because it's (mostly) raw, it comes together quickly once all the ingredients are assembled!

Ingredients - Salad
green papaya, sliced into thin strips (I honestly have no idea how to purchase papayas, underripe or otherwise. If you can find the pre-sliced variety, so much the better.) I ended up using two or three handfuls, but adjust based on personal preference.
cabbage (green or red is fine), thinly sliced (I used about 1/4 a head for a two-person salad)
thinly sliced carrot (or just take a peeler to it) - I used roughly half a carrot
thinly sliced daikon (see carrot) - about the same amount as the carrots
thinly sliced (sensing a pattern, here?) red onion - about 1/4 onion
pan-fried crispy tofu, cooked with a little garlic

Ingredients - Dressing
juice from four limes or one lemon (technically, it should be lime juice. But if you screw up the first batch of dressing and find yourself out of limes, a lemon makes a good enough substitute)
a couple of splashes of soy sauce
4 tbsp. of raw sugar (or, to taste)
a 1-2 inch piece of peeled ginger, grated
crushed red pepper (optional)

To make the salad, fry up some tofu. You can add other Asian-inspired flavors if you'd like - I tossed in a bit of soy sauce at the end. While the tofu is cooling, mix together the rest of the ingredients.

For the dressing, whisk together the citrus juice and sugar, adjusting the sugar amounts as necessary to get a slightly sweet, but still tart, blend. Add the soy sauce and the juice from the ginger (just squeeze the ginger over the bowl). For an extra kick, add some crushed red pepper.

Add the tofu to the raw veg, then mix the dressing with the salad, letting the whole shebang sit in the fridge for an hour or so to let the flavors meld. Or eat it right away if you are hungry and impatient.

*"Burmese" is in quotation marks because I don't actually know what goes into a real green papaya salad, and the dressing was pinched from a Vietnamese Green Mango salad; consider this an homage to my bygone salad days.

1 comment:

  1. It is 8:46 am in Denver, and I am STARVING.