When making this green papaya salad by Leah Cohen of New York's Pig and Khao, be sure not to overdress the salad—you don't want all those crunchy bits to get soggy. If you can't find Vietnamese mint, just use regular, fresh mint and increase the amount to ¾ cup.
To learn more, read "Taro Down for What."
Green Papaya Salad
Recipe adapted from Leah Cohen, Pig and Khao, New York, NY
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes, plus marinating time
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 5 minutes, plus marinating time
For the Grilled Chicken:
4 cilantro stems
3 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon kosher salt
One 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Kosher salt and ground white pepper, to taste
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons canola oil
For the Scallion Oil:
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Dressing:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup fish sauce
½ cup fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
⅓ cup scallion oil
4 Thai chile peppers, thinly sliced
For the Papaya Salad:
1 cup canola oil, for frying
1 cup julienned taro
4 cups (about ½) medium green papaya, julienned
1 cup (about 2 small) carrots, julienned
½ cup mint leaves, torn
½ cup cilantro leaves
½ cup Vietnamese mint (optional)
½ cup crispy shallots
⅓ cup chopped, roasted, unsalted peanuts
1. Make the grilled chicken: In a blender, combine all the ingredients, except for the chicken, and purée until smooth. Season the mixture with salt and white pepper.
2. Place the chicken and marinade in a bowl, then cover it and chill for at least 2 hours or preferably, overnight.
3. Make the scallion oil: Prepare an ice bath. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and salt and remove the pan from the heat. Once the oil stops bubbling, pour it into a bowl set over the ice bath and cool. Once it is cool, strain the oil through a fine-mesh strainer and set it aside.
4. Make the dressing: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, fish sauce and lime juice until the sugar dissolves. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and whisk them well.
5. Make the papaya salad: Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing the excess marinade to drip off. Set the chicken on a plate, and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
6. While the chicken is resting, in a small saucepan, combine 1 cup canola oil with the taro. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat. Fry the taro until it's crisp and deep, golden brown, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the taro and place it on a paper towel-lined plate; season it with salt and set aside.
7. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Working in 2 batches, grill the chicken until it is lightly charred on the bottom, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip it and cook it until the other side is charred and the chicken is cooked through, for another 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing it thinly.
8. Assemble the papaya salad: In a large mixing bowl, combine the papaya, carrots, herbs, peanuts and grilled chicken slices. Add ½ cup of the vinaigrette to the bowl, and toss it to coat the salad. Do not overdress the salad. Once the salad is evenly coated, add ½ the taro and toss it. Garnish the salad with the remaining taro and crispy shallots.
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