I've just returned from Rarotonga so above is the Rarotongan edition of this delicious salad, with the addition of some crispy tofu it's even more delicious! But you don't have to be in the islands to enjoy a taste of them.
This island variation on the Thai dish Som Tum usually has shrimp paste and fish sauce. I use plant-based ingredients to achieve the flavour profiles. You can readily buy young coconuts in the supermarket so drink up the yummy and refreshing coconut water then crack it open with the handle of a heavy knife. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and add to the salad. The papaya may be harder to find but try to choose the greenest one you can. I have also successfully used choko or green mango as a substitute. This salad also works well as a rice roll filling.
Pacific Green Papaya Salad
Vegan | Gluten-free
Gather your ingredients and prepare the following into a bowl:
1 green papaya, deseeded, peeled and grated or julienned
flesh of 1 young coconut, finely sliced
1/3 cucumber, finely sliced
5 cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
2 chilli, deseeded and finely sliced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T ginger, finely grated
1 tsp mirin or sugar
1 T tamarind paste
zest and juice of 3 limes
1 tsp salt and/or soy sauce
handful of fresh herbs such as coriander, dill, mint, chives or Thai basil, finely chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
1 T rice bran oil
Toss together well and top with chopped salted or Sichuan peanuts to serve.