Weekly Salad 2: Gỏi Đu Đủ – Green Papaya Salad




I’ve mentioned before how Vietnamese Gỏi differs from salad. And this dish is no different. In regard to taste, texture and herbalocity, it’s got a lot more goin’ on than the average tossed salad. It’s high on flavor yet very low in fat and calories – good for anyone on an ARP or just wanting to eat healthier.

In The Scent of Green Papaya, there’s a scene where a woman (Mùi) is preparing papaya the traditional way, holding it in front of her, one hand holding the papaya and the other wielding a knife, tapping and quickly cutting and shredding perfect, julienned strips of papaya — no cutting board, no mandoline and no Cuisinart for her, thank you very much.


Tools for Shredding Papaya



Indeed, we should all aspire to have such Mad Asian Skills. Until then, I am content with the Kiwi Peeler , the Kom Kom knife, or if there’s a lot to make, a Japanese mandoline, which can be found online or at Thai/SE Asian grocery stores. All work well. With the Kiwi, it’s a up-down motion and the Kom Kom has more a side-to-side motion. The Kom Kom is just a bit pricier but it has several added functions – including a peeler, corer and carver – all in one tool. Yes, and if you call in the next 5 minutes, we’ll throw in a Rachel Ray cookbook. No, I kid.

Viet spicy beef jerky, Khô is a traditional ingredient for this but you could also use slices of poached pork and shrimp. I also like this with cooked, slices of liver.





INGREDIENTS: (6-8 servings)

  • 1 med-large green papaya (approx. 1.5 lbs) – peeled, seeded and grated
  • 1/2 lb. Viet spicy beef jerky (Khô Bò)
  • 1 large bunch of Thai basil leaves
  • chili-soy sauce dressing


  • To remove some of the natural latex from the papaya, soak the grated papaya in a large bowl of water with approx. 1 Tbl. salt for 1/2 hour. Drain and set aside.
  • Shred the Viet beef jerky into small strips (you can also use pre-shredded Viet jerky).
  • Roughly chop the Thai basil or leave them whole, if you prefer.
  • In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients for the chili soy dressing, making sure to dissolve the sugar completely.
  • Combine the papaya, beef jerky and basil and toss with some of the dressing right before serving.

adapted from Epicurious.com, courtesy of Sonny Nguyen

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbl. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce or hot chili sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Tbl. sugar
Bon appétit!


22 Responses to “Weekly Salad 2: Gỏi Đu Đủ – Green Papaya Salad”

  1. Christy Says:

    Green Papaya salad…looks interesting:)

  2. Passionate Eater Says:

    I wish I had those “Mad Asian Skills” with papaya and with pickled lotus root. I love Vietnamese grandmothers who squat on the ground with a small tub, and lo and behold, 10 minutes later they have peeled, shredded, and chopped 25 pounds vegetables for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Oh, and they also wrapped up some cha gio too while they were “gossiping” with their friends.

  3. Warda Says:

    All for only 9.99, just pay shipping and handling! Hahahaha. Those commercials crack me up. You should see this video:
    http://www.tetesaclaques.tv/video.php?vid=30. The accent is quite hard to understand but you will love it.

    The salad sounds so exotic! You forgot to show me the homemade chili sauce the other day!

  4. Shayne Says:

    beautiful photo and nice looking salad and this salad has a total of 2.5 grams of fiber. Just in case you wanted to know.

  5. White on Rice Says:

    What a great movie “Scent of Green Papayas” was. I remember the scene with the woman that you had mentioned. Between the memories of this old movie and your luscious photographs, I’ll have to make it for our Tet party in two weeks. If you’re in Southern Cali, stop by!

  6. Pierre Says:

    I love the crunchiness of this salad… it does take some effort to cut, unless you develop those incredible skills of these traditional Vietnamese women.
    I would never have thought of making a salad this way with a tropical fruit but I am glad that I got to try it!

  7. Anh Says:

    I like this salad lots and lots! I made something similar the other day, and gotta taste some of similar salad in Hanoi.

    And you know, the photos of green papaya remind me of the Scent of Green Papaya 🙂

  8. Jen Says:

    I think that is the prettiest salad I’ve ever laid eyes on and I have no idea how it tastes. Where do you get green papaya? I know, I should probably look harder at the Asian grocery stores 🙂 The combo with the other flavors sound great! I’ll have to see what my restrictions are on fresh produce over the next several months and maybe I’ll give it a try – otherwise I’ll be ready come summer! Good lord lady, you’ll make us all ten pounds lighter and fifty times happier with these awesome salads. xxoo

  9. holybasil Says:

    Christy – Thanks!
    Passionate Eater – I know what you mean – Viet grandmothers rock the hizzay! Hmm, I think I need to practice squatting…
    Salut Warda – ah, c’est drôle! Je voudrais un Willy Waller 2006 (pas 2005) 🙂
    Shayne – Thanks for the info – you are my fiberlicious girl now!
    White on Rice – I loved that film – the cinematography was so utterly breathtaking. I felt like each frame or scene could’ve been a piece of art. Thank you for your comments and the invite, but I’ll warn you…I am a big eater – like seriously monstrous 🙂
    Pierre- merci bc.
    Anh- I wonder if the sauce is different in Hanoi?
    Jen- I usually find it at the Asian market here. I don’t know if this would be good for you to eat as my mom says the latex from the papaya can be toxic. I saw on wikipedia that Indian women use it as a contraceptive (folk remedy). Isn’t that interesting? I never heard that before.
    I don’t think I’ll be as ripped as you in 6 months, but I’m hoping for a 4-pack 🙂

  10. mycookinghut Says:

    Green papaya salad is tasty! I haven’t tried Vietnamese version, but just the Thai version – Somtam. I am sure it’s just as tasty. I would really love to visit Vietnam one day.. hopefully soon.
    By the way, I’ve a question for you, Christine. Correct me if I am wrong. I believe ‘Saigon Chicken’ is a Vietnamese deep fried chicken dish served with chili dipping sauce?
    When I was a student in Australia, I used to go to Vietnamese restaurants a lot as there’s big Vietnamese community there.
    Maybe you can share the recipe of this dish one day! It would be cool!

  11. Anh Says:

    HB, the northern style sauce has no soy sauce. This is replaced by fish sauce :). The rest is almost the same, but with other herbs and some crushed toasted peanuts on top.

  12. holybasil Says:

    Mycookinghut- Yes, I love somtam – especially when it’s fiery hot! Saigon chicken – hmmm. I’m not sure what that is…my mom makes a nice fried chicken that we eat with watercress. Thanks for reminding about that. I plan to completely wreck my healthy eating habits with a whole day of deep frying. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

    Anh – oh right, I use fish sauce when I eat this with pork and chicken.

  13. Hillary Says:

    Oooh looks good! Did you know papaya is one of the Top 20 Most Productive Foods? 🙂 Well you do now!

  14. MichNguyen Says:

    I love this salad so much that I could eat them like “bò ăn cỏ” 🙂

  15. holybasil Says:

    Hillary- I didn’t know that – thanks for the info 🙂

    Mich- Yes, I know what you mean – I can just picture that too.

  16. mycookinghut Says:

    I agree that deep frying isn’t good for health. However, once in a while is alright. Regarding ‘Saigon chicken’, it was probably a name given on the menu…
    My mom makes good Malaysian-style fried chicken… I’m drooling by just thinking of it 🙂

  17. Tocade Says:

    Where can I buy the Kiwi peeler and how much. Thank you.

  18. holybasil Says:

    Tocade- you can find the kiwi peeler online (click on the link in the post above) or you can also find them at Thai/Lao/Viet grocery stores. They usually cost around $3 or $4.

  19. Nghia Says:

    Would it be possible for me to use your photos for my restaurant?

  20. iheartjerky Says:

    If you need a source to make your own home made Beef Jerky…i use BeefJerkyRecipes.com . It is much cheaper than store bought jerky plus you can make it exactly how you want it.

    Its not as hard as many people think!

  21. maylee Says:

    please let me know where i can order or buy a papaya shredder shown in this pic, not the first one (blue) and not the (orange one), i want the longer one shown on this pic. thanks.

  22. Maylee Says:

    i was wondering where can i find the papaya shredder the long one shown on this pic or you can say the 3rd pic counting down. thanks.

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