Here's a bright, sweet-salty version from chefs Spike Mendelsohn and Mike Colletti. They like to shop at the Eden Center's Cho Saigon Market in Falls Church for the ingredients, such as the sesame-peanut granules and fried red onions.
The salad components can be prepped up to 2 days in advance; dress the salad just before serving.
- For the salad
- 1 large green papaya (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into very thin slices (preferably with a mandoline; may substitute green, unripe mango)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into very thin slices (preferably with a mandoline)
- 2 cups 1/2-inch cubed pineapple, preferably fresh
- 1 Thai red chili pepper, cut crosswise into thin slices (not seeded; omit if you want a less-spicy salad)
- Handful mint leaves, coarsely chopped (preferably Vietnamese mint, available at some Asian markets)
- Handful cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
- Handful Thai or regular basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup shredded pickled daikon radish (store-bought or homemade; see headnote on Vegetarian Summer Rolls)
- 2 tablespoons roasted and ground sesame-peanut granules, for garnish (see headnote; may substitute crushed roasted, unsalted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons store-bought fried red onion, for garnish
- For the dressing
- 6 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce, such as Sriracha
For the salad: Combine the papaya, carrot, pineapple, chili pepper, if desired, herbs and daikon radish in a large salad bowl.
For the dressing: Combine the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, lime juice, garlic and hot chili sauce in a measuring cup; stir to mix well.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss lightly to coat evenly. Divide among individual plates, then sprinkle each portion with some of the sesame-peanut granules and fried red onions. Serve immediately.
Tested by Spike Mendelsohn.
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