3 Shades of Ripe Papaya Salad

If you’re feeling the whoosh of Santa’s sleigh, the neigh of reindeers howling in the still night, and polar bears giddily rolling about while drinking Coca-Cola, then papaya can’t be too far off your mind…right?  That’s why I’m here, to bring you the tropical experience even if you are facing a sheer wall of snow and unduly short days.  Mucking about in my neighbor’s backyard recently, I rankled several papayas from their relatively tall tree.  They were all green on the outside, but when I opened them up I realized they were varying degrees of pink.

It reminds me of The Magician’s Nephew, in which the two children jump from puddle to puddle and discover fantastical worlds alive and present through each one.  When you think about it, puddles (apparently) suck and we do everything feasible to avoid them.  However, those “uncomfortable because what the fuck is going on” places are often the ripest ones for exploration and discovery.

The puddles between worlds


This salad is constituted almost entirely from the plant matter in that good family’s backyard.  It fed 10+ people, and not only fed them but delivered critical doses of vitamins and minerals as directly from the earth as you can get ’em these days.  I mandolined the papayas (though, no doubt, I ought to have done the classic Thai chopping technique) and added mustard greens, Thai basil, moringa, seaweed, toasted black sesame seeds, apple cider vinegar+roast garlic+habañero pepper+coconut+cashew sauce, nori seaweed, and a side of my infamous fried chickpea wild rice tempeh with black rice noodles.  The tempeh actually came out dank this time, I realized that the Indonesian street vendor technique is to just fry a thin strip of it.  However, boiling it in stock first infuses it with flavor.  I thought the days of tempeh were over for me because of a strange reaction I keep getting, but I think it’s the miso that’s causing it…kombucha does me the dirtiest…anyways enjoy and may Santa bless you all with the gifts of patience, compassion, imagination, and fantastical blog posts!


Check out this blog for the real deal (she uses a couple more chilies than I normally do along with salty crab and fish sauce ingredients):



3 thoughts on “3 Shades of Ripe Papaya Salad

    1. Yea, I spent a couple months in Isaan and remember those kind of meals fondly. The advantage of the semi-ripe papaya is that it adds natural sweetness without the need for too much palm sugar or tamarind. There are so many variations on it, though. Being in Florida, I’ve also realized how useful green papaya is as a vegetable: it’s perennial, bountiful, and low-maintenance. Koopkun maak krap!

      Liked by 1 person

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