I first tasted this crunchy, mildly tangy, sweet and spicy salad back in 2007, it was our first anniversary dinner and we decided to go to Pad Thai (little gem of a restaurant in Madinat Jumeirah with gorgeous setting overlooking the water canal, it offers amazing food and great service – no affiliation, just a happy customer). That date has very special memories of jubilation and pride at having touched the first anniversary milestone; but the romanticism of the date has not clouded my memory of the dinner we ate that night, the food was a treasure of flavours, taste and layers. My love for Thai food started that night and the pursuit of authentic taste took me to Bangkok and Krabi the following year. Here’s a version of easy to make vegan paw-paw salad.

Prep Time: 15 Mins

Assembly Time: 5 mins
Recipe Level: Easy
Spice Level: Low

Serves: 4 People
Shelf Life: Eat fresh
Serving Suggestion: By itself or as a side for barbecue or kebabs


A julienne peeler, chopping board, knife, a small container and serving bowl


  • 1/2-1 birds eye chilli (green chilli is a good substitute)
  • 1/2 inch garlic
  • 1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tsp pure jaggery paste
  • 1 cup finely shredded green papaya (or green mango)
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 6 green beans, trimmed and chopped into 2-3cm lengths
  • 1 tsp gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • sea salt, to taste


  1. In a mortar & pestle grind together the chilli, garlic, peanuts and sugar. Remove them.
  2. Add green beans in the same mortar and bruise lightly with the pestle. 
  3. In a serving dish, add the contents from mortar, cherry tomatoes, grated green papaya while using a spoon mix everything.
  4. Add gluten-free soy sauce, tamarind paste and lime/lemon juice to taste. 
  5. It is a beautiful combination of salty, sweet and sour, so add more palm sugar, lemon juice, or sea salt, as per taste. 
  6. Serve immediately.


  • Here, I was out of peanuts so I used red onions to add a bit of crunch to make my cheat papaya salad.
  • Similarly, the cherry tomatoes can easily be replaced by Roma or beef ones. Jaggery can be replaced palm sugar/ brown sugar/ raw sugar.

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