My favorite Thai restaurant taunts me with a green papaya salad that I can’t get enough of, especially during these summer months. Throughout the hellacious years of remodeling our house, we’d frequently get takeout and marshal our goods, which nearly always included this green papaya salad, to a nearby beach for dinner, whilst our poor kitchen stood bathed in two inches of dust. With the home projects (finally) complete, I became fixated on making the salad in my own kitchen. Unfortunately, my quest for fresh green papaya, I quickly discovered, came up empty handed time and time again, on our cloistered little Island.
What to do, what to do. One day, while browsing through the produce isle, I noticed a lonely basket of jicama, wedged uncomfortably into a corner. Ah ha! I immediately grabbed one and thought it might serve as a good substitute for the green papaya I pined after.
Upon reflection, I now see the error of my ways. All this time, I could have been utilizing and appreciating the deliciousness of these strange looking, thick skinned, turnip-like creatures I so often passed by. Jicama have a crisp, refreshing crunch, similar to that of a water chestnut, only better. They are quite mild, with a hint of sweetness, and a good source of Vitamin C. Plus, the word jicama sounds cute. This simple jicama and mango salad comes together in a snap and is perfect for summer months when all you crave is a light, refreshing salad that is full of lip smacking flavor to boot. We still go to the beach for dinner, but now I can pack a picnic with my new tasty salad and finally let go of my longing for the green papaya.
Jicama and Mango Salad
Kiss My Spatula’s version of the papaya salad from her favorite Thai restaurant
When choosing jicama, make sure they are firm when squeezed and have smooth, unblemished skins. To make this salad into a full meal, top with grilled or boiled shrimp.
Music Pairing: Johnny Nash, I Can See Clearly Now
- 1 medium jicama, peeled and sliced into matchsticks about 2-3 inches long
- 1/2 medium mango, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 small carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
- fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped dry roasted peanuts
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/4 tsp finely minced garlic
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cold water
- 1/2 tsp sriracha hot chili sauce (more if you like it H-O-T)
Gently toss together jicama, carrots, mango and mint in a large bowl. Whisk fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, brown sugar, water and hot chili sauce in a small bowl. Taste and adjust to your liking. Toss with prepared jicama blend until coated. Leave to sit in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Plate and sprinkle with peanuts and additional mint, if desired.