GROW FOOD slow food Have your garden and eat it too. A practical guide to organic gardening in the sub-tropics with step-by-step instructions and delicious seasonal recipes. Come with me too on some of my travels in Australia, Europe, Asia and beyond.
Green Papaya Salad

This is another one of those fabulously adaptable dishes that seems to be a real favourite with everyone – including me! (I actually start salivating when I think about this salad!!)  Depending on what I have in the garden/fridge/larder it turns out slightly differently every time I make it, which fits in with my cooking credo; what can I make with stuff I already have?

Carica papaya

If I can tick off the green papayas, lemon grass, makrut (kaffir) lime leaves, chillies, mint, Thai basil, I am already nearly there.

Traditional in South East Asian cuisine it is ideally suited as a herb filled summer salad for it’s crunchy freshness with pungent sour/sweet/salty dressing and hint of chilli.  I like to serve it with barbecued star anise chicken and coconut rice with some home made pineapple oil pickle – delish!


NOTE:  What you will need, to make your life easier when making this salad, is a speed peeler and julienne shredder – how did I ever live without them?  Use these to peel and shred the papaya and carrots.  Ordinary graters make them mushy.


  • Shredded green papaya, skin removed
  • Handful of fresh chopped coriander and mint
  • 2 makrut lime leaves finely shredded
  • 1 lemon grass stalk, white part only, finely shredded.
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • Fresh red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped – to your own taste
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced (optional)
  • Few Thai basil leaves (optional)


I topped this version with ribbons of toasted coconut

1/2 cup desiccated coconut and 1/2 cup raw peanuts tossed in a wok until golden then chopped together.

Juice of 1 large lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 desert spoon caster sugar

Toss all salad ingredients together in large bowl.  Top with coconut peanut mix and pour over combined dressing.

I added some fresh mango and shredded cos lettuce to this one – do you get the idea?

Health Benefits:  There’s more – this has to be one of the healthiest salads you can eat.
Calories green papaya: only 45 per 100 grams
Digestion:  Green papaya has long been known in traditional cultures as a digestive aid.  High in fibre and enzymes it aids bloating and constipation and helps to correct gut imbalances.
Nutrition:  Papayas are a good source of folate, Vitamin A and C, magnesium and pantothenic acid.  They also have B vitamins, alpha and beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthan (helpful in the prevention and treatment of macular degeneration), Vitamin E, calcium, potassium, Vitamin K and lycopene – the powerful antioxidant most commonly associated with tomatoes.  (Source: Medical News today and Wikipedia)

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