This Papaya Salad is like a window to my soul. It’s represents both my Thai roots and love for cooking. My mom can whip this up out of thin air. Seriously, she just materializes the ingredients and suddenly there is a delicious, perfectly diced, spicy, flavor bomb of a salad waiting for you. Her chopping technique is not for the faint of heart. Somehow, she has all of her fingers. Please exercise caution! I wouldn’t be able to count how many times a year we eat this. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

You will need:

  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 3-4 dried Thai bird chilis (or dried chiles de arbol)
  • 5 (ish) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4-5 lime wedges
  • 1/2 firm tomato, cut into wedges
  • 4-5 tablespoons fish sauce (or to taste)
  • 1/2 green (unripe) papaya, peeled and shredded (2-3 cups)


  • Mash garlic cloves and chilis. Mom is using a mortar and pestle, but use your mashing tool of choice. Add more chilis for more spice!
  • Add halved cherry tomatoes and lime, palm sugar and fish oil. Continue to mash.
  • Mix in chopped papaya and give it a final mashing.
  • I love eating this with a side of pork rinds!