Labor Day Addition – Papaya Salad

Aug 25, 2014 by

Photo By  Saodarly
Photo By Saodarly

I am still in London but this post has to be shared before I comeback. Discretely tucked away on some street in Central London, I found this gem of a cooking school – The School Of Wok. This was a first for me. Never have I come across a cooking school that focuses on Asian cooking techniques outside of Asia.

When a company touts itself as Miso Hot (Me so hot ), that kind of confidence is hard to argue with. So there I was with a cleaver in one hand and ready to embrace sensory over load with Thai Cooking. Incredible. Lemongrass, fresh kaffir, fish sauce, shrimp paste (and you thought fish sauce was the dragons breath), galangal and fresh turmeric – it was a wealth of Asian goodies. Thankfully, the dishes that we covered were the ones we crave, such as, Papaya Salad, Fish Cakes, Green Curry and Pad Thai.

Hot paste


With Labor Day coming up, I saw it fitting to give you something with an edge for that last BBQ of the season – Papaya Salad. The Birdseye chili, fish sauce (adding unctuousness to the power of 10 from), the limes and a touch of sugar to balance it all out, will work wonders next to any burger or hot dog.  Just one warning, this salad is unsuitable for the faint-hearted – it has a ton of chili but and it packs a punch, but for the more daring folk dare go there – you will be the Labor Day legend.


Photo By Jenny Ortiz
Photo By Jenny Ortiz


Recipe For Green Papaya Salad – Som Tum

Adapted From School Of Wok


4 tbsp. palm sugar (requires lots of scraping)/ 3tbsp. reg white sugar

3tbsp. fish sauce

1 tbsp. tamarind pulp (concentrate)

3 limes, juice and zest

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tbsp. Fish Sauce

1 tbsp. hydrated shrimp (available in shelf-stable packets, soak until plump and strain)

2 tbps. Roasted peanuts

8 cherry tomatoes

4 snake beans or 10 green beans, chopped

2 cups green papaya (if unavailable, substitute with unripened mango or pomelo)



1)   Peel and julienne the papaya

2)   Pound the garlic with a pinch of salt and sugar. Add the birdseye chili, roasted peanuts, hydrated prawns and pound further until coarse

3)   Make dressing combining lime juice, fish sauce and tamarind, add to coarse mixture. Add tomatoes and beans and lightly bruise to infuse flavors. Toss well with the papaya, taste and adjust according to palate


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