Kitchen Tips

How to use green papaya

It's an essential ingredient in Southeast Asian cooking, but what exactly is green papaya and how does it differ from the orange ones we normally see in the supermarket? We give you the lowdown here.

Despite being a common addition in traditional Thai and Vietnamese cooking, green papaya can often be hard to source in Australia, especially if you don't know what to look for.
Here, The Australian Women's Weekly's food experts, Fran Abdallaoui and Pamela Clark, take us through everything you need to know about buying and using green papaya.

What is green papaya?

The green papaya fruit doesn't differ from its orange papaya counterpart. It is simply still unripe.
They are available from some selected greengrocers and almost every Asian supermarket that 
also sells fresh produce. Look for green papayas that are very firm with bright slightly shiny skin, a sign that it is freshly picked.
It’s important that they are totally unripe – the flesh should be light green, almost white. It has a firm crunchy texture and is not sweet. It acts as a sponge to absorb the combined hot, sour, sweet 
and salty flavours combined with fresh herbs in zingy dressings.
Green papaya will ripen rapidly if not used within 
a couple of days.

How do I use green papaya?

Green papaya (and mango) are both 
used, usually coarsely grated or shredded finely in long strips, in many Vietnamese and Thai salads.
It can also be transformed into a zingy green papaya relish for barbecued prawns or stuffed inside rice paper rolls for a flavour-packed, Asian-inspired snack.
This story originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of The Australian Women's Weekly. To stay up-to-date with our food experts, you can subscribe to the magazine online via magshop.

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