I’m not entirely sure I even like papaya. But I just ate a ridiculous amount of Shrimp and Green Papaya Salad.
I typed that first sentence about 6 hours ago and here I am eating another RIDICULOUS amount of this Green* Papaya Salad. It’s healthy though, so I’m okay, right? Literally. cannot. stop.
I’m calling it Green* Papaya Salad because I didn’t actually make it with a green papaya. Traditionally, that’s how you should do it, but it’s kinda hard to find a green papaya in middle America.
I’m actually taking a small break to put all the ingredients into a nutrition facts builder, just to check, ya know, that it’s okay if I actually do eat the entire recipe. I’m not even hungry at this point, but, if it’s not too many calories, I mean, maybe I’ll just go for it.
Aaaaand, the answer is YES! There’s about 600 calories in the whole dang recipe. Done. Remember that time I said I was gonna always have Citrus Avocado Quinoa Salad in the fridge? I would like to take this moment to void that statement. I am gonna always have Shrimp and Green Papaya Salad in the fridge.
Now that you’ve heard me fallll allll over this recipe, let me shower you with pictures of Chiang Rai, Thailand.
Katy and I took a four-hour bus ride from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai midweek. Buses leave on that route every hour, so Katy and I just thought we’d hang out all day and then hop on the bus in the evening once we were tuckered out. We were being picked up for a cooking class in Chiang Rai on Wednesday morning at 9, so WE HAD to arrive in Chiang Rai on Tuesday night.
Except that when we asked our hostel at 6:25pm to call us a taxi to the bus station, the woman said, “No more buses. Last one at 6:30.” Followed by me: “Are you sure. Are you sure sure? Like really really really really really really sure? But for real, are you sure?” She was sure.
And then I whispered to Katy, “Let’s go any way.”
And sure enough, we got two seats for the 7:30pm bus to Chiang Rai.
The Universe, man, she was looking out.
Chiang Rai was a sleepy mountain town, full of daytime markets, indoor markets, outdoor markets, and nighttime markets. The highlight was our market tour and cooking class. We ate all the food. And then we went to the cooking school (just a normal kitchen in an awesomely normal house and by awesomely I mean there were lots of cat pictures and trinkets so really the perfect cooking class/house for me).
And funny story – we ran into some UNC friends we graduated with (and by friends I mean a guy who was once my Facebook friend, but who I lost touch with and unfriended at some point in the past six years and his girlfriend) who happened to be in the same sleepy mountain town, in Thailand, at the same time, and signed up for the same cooking class. Oh heyyyy, Universe. Thanks for that!
The market tour and cooking class — Wow. I can’t say enough good things. If you’re ever in Chiang Rai — Suwannee Thai Cooking Class was fantastic. We made four courses, one of them being Green Papaya Salad.
We bummed around the city and its outskirts for the next couple of days. Spent some time at our hotel, drinking Thai tea, lounging by the pool. Temple-hopped a bit and took a stroll through Singha Park and its tea plantation. Aside from the cooking class, Chiang Rai was our relax and regroup destination and relax and regroup we did.
Keep scrolling past the recipe for more photos about town and stay tuned for my last Thai dish and photos of Bangkok!
Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces large raw shrimp
- 3 cloves garlic divided
- 1 red Thai chili pepper or other hot chili pepper, seeded and diced
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup tomato chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh string beans
- 2 cups shredded or spiralized green papaya I used a regular, ripe papaya
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoons fish sauce
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add one minced clove of garlic and the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is just pink about 5 minutes. Let shrimp cool to room temperature or chill in the refrigerator.
I don't have a food processor, so I minced all my vegetables by hand. It is probably easier to pulse all your veggies in the food processor. Mince or chop the following into the smallest pieces possible: 2 cloves garlic, chili, peanuts, tomato, string beans. Toss in papaya. Drizzle with lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce and toss until evenly coated.
Divide salad between two bowls and top with shrimp.