You know, I really love Thai green papaya salad, but every time we order it at a restaurant, my hubs chooses to make it off-the-charts, Thai-spicy hot. I like to think of myself as a person that can handle the heat, but the guy bites off Thai bird chilis like they’re apples. Come on!!
Every few months, we take a trip out to an Asian market (they’re at least 45 minutes away from us in Maryland) to stock up on dry goods, and get produce that I can’t otherwise get at my local grocery store. (Hey, I’ve even tried speaking to a local produce manager to get green papayas, but it was a no-go. Sad face). On this last trip, I picked up an alien-looking kohlrabi along with my usual produce. Kohlrabi, once you get past the skin, is crispy, crunchy, and sweet, just like green papaya. I like how it’s slightly more firm.
If you’re like me, and don’t use things like Thai lime leaves and curry leaves often, you can still buy these items and store in your freezer for a few months. Same with frozen, chopped lemongrass – a staple in my house! And again, with Thai bird chilies – they thaw out in 5.79 seconds each. 😉
I love this salad. It remind me of that Thai green papaya salad, but with even more flavor because of the chiffonade basil and Thai lime leaves (LIME LEAVES ARE THE BEST!). I was also really excited to find vegan fish sauce (made out of fermented soybeans), because I’ve tried making mock fish sauce with soy sauce, and it just wasn’t the same to me. A few weeks ago, I made a nuoc cham (I’ll post the recipe soon) with this vegan fish sauce, and P was surprised, because it tasted just like the real thing.
No surprise, he went to the freezer and got another Thai bird chili. 😉