I had intended to post this last night. Indeed, I thought I had posted it last night. Yet, somehow when I went to make sure that it looked ok this morning, the entire post was missing except for the title. I don't know what happened.
Papaya salad is a refreshing, typically Vietnamese style of salad featuring young, still green papaya, carrots, and rau ram, an herb that Indonesians know by the name daun laksa. If you are unable to find this herb, mint makes a good substitute. I often use both herbs together in the salad.
This is a very easy salad to pull together as long as you have something to julienne the vegetables. The dressing is essentially nuoc cham and can be adjusted to meet individual preferences. Although I added shrimp to make it a light meal, it is still delicious without shrimp. Fried shallots and ground peanuts make for a nice garnish, but if you don't have them? No problem. I grilled the prawns, but you could also boil them. In other words, this recipe is flexible and forgiving.
Papaya Salad with Grilled Prawns (gỏi đu đủ với tôm nướng)
1/2 small green papaya, julienned (about 2 cups)
2 to 3 carrots, julienned
2 TBS rau ram (daun laksa) or mint, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
juice of 1 lime
2 TBS fish sauce
2 to 3 TBS sugar
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 Thai chili, seeded and finely minced (or a splash of sriracha)
6 to 10 large prawns, peeled and deveined
1 TBS oil
Mix one TBS of the dressing with the oil. Marinate the prawns in this for 20 minutes or so. Grill on a hot grill for about 3 minutes, until just cooked. Do not overcook the prawns.
Sprinkle the papaya and carrot with the sugar and salt. Mix well to distribute the salt and sugar evenly. After a few minutes rinse the vegetables thoroughly. Drain then dry well between paper towels.
In a serving bowl mix the vegetables with the chopped herbs. Add the dressing and toss well. Place the cooked prawns on top of the salad. If you like, garnish with fried shallots and chopped peanuts. I sprinkled on some toasted sesame seeds because I had some on hand. Banh tom (krupuk udang--shrimp crackers) also are a nice accompaniment.
I am submitting this to Delicious Vietnam #6, a monthly blogging event celebrating Vietnamese food. Founded by Anh of A Food Lover's Journey, and Kim and Hong of Ravenous Couple, Delicious Vietnam welcomes submissions from bloggers around the world. To learn how you might participate, click here. The roundup for Delicious Vietnam #6 will be hosted by yours truly. Check out the roundup to find the details on who will be hosting Delicious Vietnam #7.