Serves 6-8 people


For the Dressing

1 C tamarind paste OR ½ cup tamarind concentrate
4 T palm sugar (about 2 discs) OR 5 T brown sugar dissolved in 3 T water
7 garlic cloves, chopped
4 T dried shrimp
5 Thai green chilis or ½ jalapeno, chopped
Zest of 2 limes
Juice of 5 limes
½ C fish sauce
Optional: toasted ground rice powder, not essential, but adds earthy toasted flavor

For the Salad

5 C green papaya, julienned
2 carrots, julienned
1 cucumber, halved and sliced
Little gem lettuces
¼ C Thai basil leaves, torn
½ bunch mint, leaves picked
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Bean sprouts, washed
½ bunch scallions, thinly sliced

For the Garnish

½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped

Special Equipment

Large mortar and pestle
Mandoline with medium-sized teeth (or box grater, or food processor with shredder attachment)
Chinois or mesh strainer
Mixing bowls
Citrus juicer


For the Dressing

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, dissolve tamarind paste in 1 C water until it breaks down, about 10 minutes.  Pass the tamarind mixture through a chinois or fine mesh strainer, reserving ½ C of the liquid.  (Alternatively, use ½ C prepared tamarind concentrate.)
In a small sauce pot, melt the palm sugar with 3 tablespoons water over medium heat until a syrup is formed.  Remove from heat and set aside.
With a large mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, chilies, and dried shrimp together until it forms a paste and is homogenous.  Transfer this paste to a mixing bowl and add the tamarind syrup, palm sugar syrup, lime juice, zest, and fish sauce (and rice powder, if using).  Mix well and set aside.

For the Salad

Julienne the green papaya and carrot using a mandolin (or with a box grater, or the grater attachment on a food processor).  Combine with the remaining salad ingredients.  Mix with the dressing.  Adjust the dressing to balance the flavors of sour, sweet, salty, and spicy.  Garnish with peanuts.

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