Green Papaya Salad

In Thailand, we had this green papaya salad almost as much as we had chicken green curry. Before finding a source of green papaya, I made it using under-ripe conference pears as a substitute. Now, having done both, I prefer the substitute. Either way, it makes a great starter to a Thai meal.


serves: 4
preparation time: 40 mins
cooking time: n/a


  • 3 red birds eye chillis
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 under-ripe conference pears
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 50g fine green beans
  • 3 tbs roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tbs Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 round lettuce


Deseed and finely chop the chillis, then add them to a glass bowl (large enough to take all the pear as well). Skin and crush the garlic cloves into the bowl with the chillis. Now peel and core the pears and cut them into long, very fine julienne strips, adding them to the bowl as you go. After you’ve added half the pear, pound it together with the chilli and garlic in the bowl. Then add the rest of the pear and pound again. Now dress the pear with half the lime juice and stir well. (This helps the pear stop discolouring and you can now safely leave the salad like this until you serve it.)

Wash and chop the green beans into short lengths. Quarter the cherry tomatoes. Mix together the remaining lime juice and fish sauce and stir in the caster sugar to dissolve.

When you are ready to serve, wash and drain the round lettuce and dress 4 plates with leaves. Add the lime juice and fish sauce mixture to the pear and stir again before piling the pear strips into the centre of the lined plates. Sprinkle over the green beans and peanuts then add the cherry tomato quarters and serve.

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