There are many versions of this spicy north-eastern Thai vegetable salad that is traditionally made, crushed and dressed in a wooden pestle and mortar. Green papaya salad is always eaten with rice: steamed sticky rice or occasionally jasmine rice dressed with coconut cream and sugar. A stall selling grilled pork or sweet pork can usually be found nearby–it is the perfect companion.
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Finally, add the green papaya and lightly bruise with the pestle, while turning and tossing the mixture with a large spoon held in your other hand. Season the salad with palm sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and tamarind water. It should taste sweet, sour, hot and salty.
Place about 1 cup of steamed rice on each plate. Spoon over the green papaya salad and eat with fresh raw vegetables, such as cabbage, green beans and betel leaves.
“Reprinted with permission from Thai Street Food: Authentic Recipes, Vibrant Traditions by David Thompson, copyright © 2009. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.”
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