This Thai-Inspired, Lacto-Fermented Green Papaya is my new rockstar condiment. I know, the title is long, but it resembles the flavour: catchy, and flavourful?! Read on!
My New Favourite Condiment: Thai-Inspired Green Papaya.
Thai-inspired fermented green papaya is my new favourite condiment. Its crisp, salty, savoury and hint of lime flavour pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes. It is not too overpowering and lends a freshness and kick. I like to serve it not just with South East Asian cuisine, but also Indian, anything grilled, barbecued, and tossed in salads and sandwiches. My father-in-law loves anything with lots of flavour and heat, and indiscriminately heaps it on everything!
It is super easy to make. I used the same dry brine technique as for sauerkraut and got a delicious result! If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, green papaya might be hard to find and pricey. I live in Quebec, Canada, where papayas are imported, but I have been able to make small batches of Thai-Inspired Fermented Green Papaya very successfully!
The Inpration Behind The Recipe
I created Thai-Inspired Lacto-Fermented Green Papaya by necessity. My neighbour, Hannah, an enthusiastic university student in Nutrition asked me if I had a fermented papaya recipe for a hot salsa she wanted to make. After searching with no luck, I decided to make my own using a green papaya. The result: an incredibly tasty, crunchy, savoury, spicy, addictive and satisfyingly tangy condiment! Thanks, Hannah for the inspiration- this is one of my most favourite ferments so far, and definitely takes an already delicious and nutritious food to another level of flavour!
While researching for this article, I discovered that I didn’t really make up this recipe, just the fermented part. Green papaya salad is enjoyed throughout Southeast Asia. Som Tum is a popular version found in Thailand. It is made with lime juice, sugar, chili peppers and can also include additional ingredients such as fish sauce, roasted peanuts and tomatoes.
Papayas: Some Healthy Facts
The papaya is a tropical fruit with either orangy red or yellow flesh. It contains high levels of vitamins C, E, A, as well as significant levels folate, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and antioxidants.
Papayas are also considered to be a digestive aid as they naturally contain papain, an enzyme that breaks down proteins. Green (unripe) papayas have been found to contain higher levels of papain as well as potassium than ripe papayas. This nutritional bonus amps up this tasty ferment- I love when I can multi-task nutrition and flavour!
Thai-Inspired Lacto-Fermented Green Papaya
- 1 unripe papaya (approximately .5 kg/1 lb)
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) non iodized salt
- 1 kaffir lime leaf (or juice and zest of one lime)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chilis (or hot pepper of your choice)
- Wash and peel papaya, cut in half and remove seeds
- Grate papaya or cut into matchstick slices
- add salt and massage into papaya to express liquid to create a brine
- stir in chilis (or diced hot pepper of your choice) and kaffir lime leaf and or lime
- pack into fermentation container, add fermentation weight to force papaya below its brine
- close lid and leave to ferment at room temperature, out of direct sunlight for 1-2 weeks
- store in the fridge to decelerate fermentation