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Recipe: Sabai Sabai chef Nuit Regular’s beautifully balanced papaya salad

Toronto Life Cookbook 2012 Recipe: Papaya Salad
Toronto Life Recipes | Appetizers
By Nuit Regular
Sabai Sabai

PREP TIME: 15 minutes
Serves 2 to 4


2 tbsp dried shrimp
¼ green papaya, peeled
2 limes
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup tamarind juice
1½ tbsp coconut sugar
1–3 Thai red bird’s-eye chilies
1 garlic clove, peeled
6 grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 string beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Thai eggplant, seeds removed, cut into pieces
2 thin slices lime
2 tbsp whole roasted peanuts
Small handful cilantro, chopped
Handful of cabbage, shredded

1. Soak shrimp in warm water for 5 minutes until soft. Shred 2 cups papaya on a mandoline.

2. Thinly slice two wheels from lime. Squeeze 2 tbsp juice from the remaining lime in a small bowl. Stir in fish sauce, tamarind juice and coconut sugar. Set aside.

3. Depending on your tolerance for heat, pound 1 to 3 chilies and garlic into a coarse paste using a mortar and pestle. Add tomatoes and beans. Lightly bruise the mixture until liquid releases and becomes a light sauce. Pour in fish sauce mixture.

4. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and toss with drained shrimp, eggplant, green papaya, sliced lime and roasted peanuts. Spoon onto a plate and sprinkle with cabbage and cilantro.

Toronto Life Cookbook 2012 Recipe: Papaya Salad
If you can’t find tamarind juice, make your own by soaking 2 tbsp tamarind pulp in ½ cup hot water. Mash it and strain, reserving the juice.

Recipes developed by Victoria Walsh. Recipe photography by Ryan Szulc. Portrait photography by Raina and Wilson. Illustrations by Aleksandar Janicijevic. Interviews by Denise Balkissoon, Ariel Brewster, Andrew D’Cruz, Jennifer Goldberg, Matthew Hague, Claire Hastings, Bronwen Jervis and Simone Olivero.