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 Bò 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.
GỞI ĐU ĐỦ – GREEN PAPAYA SALAD
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.
CHILI SOY SAUCE DRESSING
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