These are so fresh and tasty. The perfect thing for a light summer dinner and super perfect for taking to work. If you do that be prepared to sit at your desk dreaming about lunch for a god period of the morning. The fragrant smell of the salad will get you all excited before you even start on the rolling part.
I’ve been obsessed with rice paper rolls for lunch since Uni days and I love them with all kind of dipping sauces. Hoisin with chilli and peanuts sprinkled on top, sweet chilli or just some soy. The one pictured is a mix of crunchy peanut butter, coconut cream, lime and soy sauce. I usually just add 1 Tbs of the first two to start and then a little bit of the latter two and taste, add more, taste and so on.
I’m not going to start claiming that this green papaya salad is in any way traditional – let’s call it an interpretation of something super traditional. But I love it. It’s fresh and zingy and I like that kind of thing.
Feel free to make substitutions here, you could use chicken instead of prawns, you could use normal mint instead of Vietnamese (it is a different flavour though, as Vietnamese has a slight aniseedy punchiness to it), you could very finely slice shallots instead of the spring onion. But you can’t substitute the green papaya. It’s the main ingredient. You can usually find it in Asian Grocery stores and want a smaller one if you can as you only need two cups of it shredded. If you have a big one don’t worry, shred it all at once if you like and turn the leftovers into a salad (use the same dressing as below) to have with roast chicken or sticky rice and curry. Or I hear you can freeze it shredded.
And don’t get too caught up in making them neat, you just want them neat enough to stay together so relax and have fun getting your roll on. If you have left over green papaya you should try this recipe for pad thai, with green papaya playing the role of the noodles.
300g tiger (or anything that is medium to large in sizes) prawns, shell and heads on, cooked.
2 cups shredded green papaya (prep tips here)
1 red chilli, finely diced
1/4 cup finely sliced spring onion
2/3 cup cucumber (.5cm dice)
1/4 cup coriander, roughly shopped
2 Tbs finely sliced vietnamese mint leaves
1/ tsp freshly grated ginger
1 Tbs finely diced lemongrass
1 tsp palm or coconut sugar
Juice of 1 lime
16 Vietnamese mint leaves, whole
30g vermicelli noodles, cooked and drained
8 pieces of rice paper
Remove heads and shells of prawns (waste less tip – you can make a prawn stock out of the heads and shells!). Devein the prawns using a sharp knife, then cut in half along this same line. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
Mix together the green papaya, slice mint, coriander ginger, lemongrass, chilli, cucumber, sugar, lime and fish sauce in a large bowl. Make sure the dressing is well distributed.
Fill a plate with raised edges with boiling water. Slide in the rice paper, working with only one piece at a time. Once rice paper is soft remove from water and place on a clean chopping board. Place 2 Vietnamese mint leaves in the centre, horizontally, then spread about 1/3 cup of the salad mix over the top, follow with 1-2Tbs of the noodles and 3 prawn slices (1.5prawns). Make sure you leave 4 cm at either end of your filling. When finished layering the filling, fold these edges towards the centre then fold the top of the rice paper over the filling and roll tightly towards you.
Repeat with the remaining 7 pieces of rice paper, if you are low on prawns just do 2 slices (1 prawn) per roll. Any remaining salad can be served on the side.
Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice and enjoy!