Ever since we got back from our trip to Utah, I've been somewhat obsessed with this green papaya salad I had a Takashi. I just LOVED the combination of classic Thai flavors...sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. Once we got back home, I was determined to try and recreate it. I am still on my healthy eating kick, although I admit I haven't gotten back to my exercise routine yet. It's been pouring rain for the past week!
First, I had to find green papayas. A query on Facebook and a friendly answer led me back to Hong Kong Market...where I found green papayas aplenty. We hadn't had beef in a while, so I grilled up a flank steak, and made some simple brown rice with some cilantro and lime to compliment the flavors in the steak marinade.
When I tried my homemade papaya salad, I was not disappointed. The only difference was the spice factor...it was a tad spicy...not overwhelmingly so, but it was "there." ;-) Next time, I'll only use one squirt of siracha. Feel free to modify the dressing ingredients to your taste.
Asian Grilled Flank Steak with Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice and Green Papaya Salad
(Steak recipe courtesy of Skinnytaste.com)
For the Asian Grilled Flank Steak recipe, click here. I used Gina's recipe from skinnytaste.com...but to save time, I didn't skewer the meat, just grilled the whole steak and thinly sliced it.
FOR THE RICE:
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup brown rice
Juice and zest of 2 limes
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
Bring the chicken broth to a boil along with 1 tablespoons of salt. Add the rice and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 45-50 minutes until all the broth is absorbed and the rice is tender. Fold in the lime juice, zest, and cilantro. Set aside.
FOR THE GREEN PAPAYA SALAD:
1-2 firm, green papayas (they really need to be VERY under ripe)
1/2 cup shredded carrot (buying the preshredded carrots in the produce section saves time!)
3 green onions, minced
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1/4 freshly chopped mint
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, dry-roasted and chopped fine
1/4 fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2-3 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1-2 squirts of siracha (found in the Asian aisle of your grocery store)
In a large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients except the peanuts. I found that 2 medium-sized papayas was a good amount to use with the dressing. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad. Toss well, and serve immediately, garnished with the chopped peanuts and cilantro if desired. You can also hold the salad in the fridge for 6-8 hours...it'll be fine. :-)
Would you believe that 2 of my kids actually ate the salad? Rebecca said, "It tastes like everything...sweet, and spicy!" David said it was great...and even Theresa noshed on a few shreds of papaya and carrot. :-)
Although it was a big more work than I anticipated, and my kitchen was a MESS afterwards, I really want to keep this papaya salad in my repertoire. It's super healthy, delicious, and refreshing during the hot summer months. Go to your nearest Asian grocery store...all the ingredients should be there...and it'll be a fun field trip for the kids. Now...if only I had some sushi to eat with the salad!
Enjoy, and God bless your table tonight!