Green Pawpaw (Papaya) Salad With Seafood

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“This recipe comes from a Thai Cooking course I did. It's fabulous! The dressing is hot, but not 'blow the top off your head' hot. Don't be afraid of the green pawpaw - it doesn't actually taste of much, but adds a great texture and takes up the flavour of the dressing. Use a perfectly green pawpaw - as ripe pawpaw flesh will tend to disintegrate in the dressing. The sauce can also be used to serve with spring rolls or coconut prawns.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 250 g green prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 250 g squid, tubes split, and scraped inside
  • 1 small green pawpaw, peeled, deseeded and grated (you need 1 cup of grated pawpaw, I grate mine in the food processor)
  • 6 shallots, finely sliced (use golden or red shallots)
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass, crushed and white part finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon kaffir lime leaf, fresh, centre veins removed, rolled, then very finely sliced
  • 14 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped (cilantro)
  • 14 cup mint, leaves only, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 14 cup salad dressing (see recipe for Hot and Sour Dressing below)
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts, roasted in a dry pan then crushed
  • 2 tablespoons crispy shallots (buy these in a jar from an Asian food store)
  • Hot and Sour Dressing
  • 3 small red chilies, deseeded (use 4 if you want it hotter)
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 8 tablespoons lime juice, fresh
  • 4 teaspoons palm sugar (or to taste)
  • 3 -4 tablespoons fish sauce (to taste, you want a balance of hot, sour, sweet and salty so adjust ingredients as required)


  1. First prepare all the ingredients as described above - keep any ends and trimmings of garlic, shallots, coriander root, lemon grass, mint and coriander stalks, and odd bits of lemon grass and a couple of spare kaffir lime leaves aside to flavour the water you're going to cook the seafood in.
  2. Next, make the dressing as it has to sit for at least 15 minutes for the flavours to merge.
  3. To make dressing, mix together all ingredients and taste to ensure there is a good balance of hot, sour, sweet and salty - adjust ingredients as necessary.
  4. Now prepare to cook the seafood.
  5. Using a very sharp knife, score the inside of the squid tubes diagonally, then score in the opposite direction (to form a diamond pattern).
  6. Cut the squid into rough triangle shapes - about 4 per tube.
  7. Prepare a medium bowl of ice cold water, with ice cubes in it, and sit it by the stove.
  8. Fill a large pot with water and add ends and trimmings as described above and a couple of tablespoons of salt.
  9. Bring water to a rolling boil then add the seafood in small batches, cooking prawns for about a minute, and squid for about 30 seconds. (The seafood can be a bit hard to find in the water, so just add a little at a time, and you'll have to 'fish' for it.)
  10. Remove seafood and immediately plunge into iced water. This cooking technique will make the squid so tender you won't believe it!
  11. When seafood is completely cold, prepare salad.
  12. In a large bowl toss together pawpaw, shallots, coriander, mint leaves, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, seafood and 1/4 cup of the hot and sour dressing (serve any remaining dressing on the side).
  13. To present salad, transfer to a plate, bring most of the seafood to the top and arrange decoratively, then sprinkle with crushed peanuts and crispy shallots.

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