More delicate than the Thai version, this fresh, tangy salad is packed with herbs and is easy to make. It's crunchy with lots of texture and is great with grilled beef and barbecued chicken.
1 small green papaya, 500g, peeled, halved and seeded
200g cooked prawns, peeled, deveined and sliced lengthways
small handful each of mint leaves, Vietnamese mint, Thai basil and coriander leaves
1 tbsp roasted peanuts, crushed
1 tbsp fried shallots
1 fresh chilli, thinly sliced
Nuoc cham dressing
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup water
1-2 bird's eye chillies, seeded, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
Using a Japanese mandoline or a food processor fitted with a shredder blade, shred the papaya into fine matchsticks. In a bowl, add shredded papaya and dressing to taste (about five tablespoons). Toss with sliced prawns and herbs. Check seasoning.
Transfer to a serving plate and top with peanuts, fried shallots and sliced chilli.
Tip: Always buy a firm green papaya without any spots or blotches. It can also be used as a pickle and is a great meat tenderiser.