1. Using a chef’s knife, cut off just the ends of the green papaya. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the dark green skin. 00:19
2. Use a julienne peeler to shred the peeled papaya into long strips. 01:16
3. To make matchsticks, use a chef’s knife to cut the fruit in half lengthwise on a cutting board. Cut off the end of the papaya up to the seed cavity. Place the cut piece flat side down on the cutting board and make even, vertical, semicircular slices. Stack one or two of the slices and cut into thin strips. Repeat with the remaining slices. 01:45
4. Cut, shredded, or match-sticked green papaya can be kept refrigerated for up to two days. To refresh to its original crunchy state, submerge the pieces in ice water and drain before use. 02:36
What You'll Need
- Chef’s knife
- Vegetable peeler
- Julienne peeler
- Green papaya
Green papaya is savory, unlike yellow papaya, which is sweet. It should be very firm to the touch when purchased, with no dark or soft spots on the skin. Green papaya should be refrigerated, wrapped in a paper towel and stored in a plastic produce bag to absorb moisture and keep it fresh. Green papayas can last this way up to two weeks.
In addition to Som Tum salad, green papaya can also be used as a replacement for noodles in pad thai and in various Southeast Asian soups.
The papain enzyme in green papaya is one of nature’s meat tenderizers. Apply a paste of finely grated green papaya and salt to the surface of tough cuts of meat; use two tablespoons of the paste for every pound of meat. Heat the meat to between 140 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit to activate the papains.
The pawpaw, the largest fruit native to the United States, is often mistaken for the green papaya due to their similar dark green skin. However, the interior of the pawpaw is soft and creamy and has very large seeds whereas the green papaya sports a very firm pale green interior that has small, pearl-like seeds.