Green Papaya Salad
Many Southeast Asian recipes strive to balance four of the sensations of taste: sweet, sour, salty, and umami. In its classic Lao or Thai version, green papaya salad—known as tam som in Laos and som tam in Thailand—has all these characteristics; the unripe papaya is sour, the palm sugar is sweet, the dried shrimp is salty, and the tomatoes and fish sauce bring the umami. Green papaya aids digestion, soothes inflammation, and even helps battle nausea. For an update of the traditional salad, I replaced the peanuts with my favorite Marcona almonds. If you’re sensitive to nightshades, omit the chiles and tomatoes.
- 8 oz green beans, trimmed
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp agave nectar or brown sugar
- 2 red Thai chiles, seeded and thinly sliced (optional if nightshade-sensitive)
- 2 green papayas, each about 12-oz, peeled, seeded, and julienned
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (optional if nightshade-sensitive)
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 chopped mint
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Marcona almonds
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and fill a medium bowl with ice water. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to the ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Be careful not to overcook the beans; they should still have some bite
- Dry the beans and slice in half crosswise.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, agave nectar, and chiles (if using) to make a dressing.
- Place the green beans, papayas, tomatoes (if using), cilantro, and mint in a serving bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Stir in half of the almonds, then sprinkle the rest on top and serve.
Reprinted from The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook by Amanda Haas with permission by Chronicle Books, 2015
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