My eldest is doing a talk soon on his favourite state or territory. He has decided on the Northern Territory even though he has never been. But there is a big train line that goes straight through the middle, so for my train obsessed boy this was the obvious choice. I’m trying to guide him to mention some of the other attributes NT might offer and even suggested he could talk about the South-East Asian influence on food up north but he is not easily swayed.
Regardless I asked my Darwin dwelling friend, Brooke, what would the quintessential Darwin dish be. Apparently it is a green papaya salad. Brooke told me to make Poh’s Green Paw Paw Salad but I didn’t. I didn’t want to make a special trip to get some dried shrimp but now I see that it was optional. Anyhow I made Nadine Abensur’s recipe. I felt it needed some extra crunch and wish I had added some roasted peanuts like Poh’s recipe. Instead I added some fried shallots at the end and a sprinkle of coriander. Not sure how authentic coriander is to this recipe but I liked it.
Levi did try it and found it a bit too spicy but he did eat it and not spit it out which is remarkable. But I suspect his talk will remain train-centric.
thai green papaya salad (som dtam)
(from Nadine Abensur’s ‘Enjoy’)
1 green papaya (it should be completely green and very firm, no yellow bits at all)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 large red chillies, deseeded
2 shallots (golden shallots) chopped
palm sugar to taste
light soy sauce or nam pla (Thai fish sauce), to taste
juice of 1 large lime
8 cherry tomatoes
Peel and deseed the papaya. Use either a mandoline, a vegetable shredding attachment on a food processor or a grater. I used what looks like a peeler but it is a shredder – not sure what it is called but it was brilliant.
Pound up the garlic, chillies and shallots into a fine paste in a mortar and pestle. Add the palm sugar, soy or fish sauce (I used a bit of both) and lime juice. Taste and adjust if need be.
Put the shredded papaya, halved cherry tomatoes and dressing in a large bowl. Gently bruise all the ingredients with a pestle.