Vegetarian Thai Papaya Salad

Vegetarian Thai Papaya Salad

Raw Papaya Salad is a delicious dish available at all Thai restaurants and a favourite with most patrons. The mix of hot chillies with garlic, shrimps, tamarind paste and fish sauce makes for a riot of flavour, very pleasing to the palate. I have tried to make a vegetarian raw papaya salad that offers the taste without the shrimps and the fish sauce.


Raw papaya 1 small

Tomato 1 medium

Garlic 3 cloves

Chillies 6-7, really hot ones

Fresh cowpea (lobiya) 2-3, roughly broken into 2” pieces

Soy sauce 1 tsp

Olive oil 1 tsp

Rock salt to taste

Peanuts 1/2 cup, roasted

Cashew nuts 10, roasted

Tamarind pulp 1 tbsp

Lemon 1

Jaggery powder 2 tsps


Peel and slice the papaya into thin strips. I cut it the way the Thais do by scoring and slicing the papaya. You can follow this video to learn how to do it right

Soak the sliced papaya in iced water for 15 minutes. Drain. This will make the papaya crunchy.

Crush the garlic and rock salt in a wide mortar and pestle. Add the chillies to the mortar. I used the Indian Bird’s Eye chilli, known as Kanthari in Kerala. In Singapore, I used Cili Padi. The spiciness of the chilli gives the salad its special flavour and a kick.

Add the soy sauce and olive oil to the garlic and chilli in the mortar. Add the jaggery and the tamarind pulp. I soak a lump of tamarind the size of a small lemon in some water overnight and squeeze out the pulp and use it.

Add the drained papaya to the mortar and pound gently.

Cut the tomato into thick wedges. Add the cowpea and tomato to the mortar and pound gently to get out the juices of the vegetables.

Squeeze the lemon juice into the salad. Add the lemon skin too and pound gently. Toss well and then remove the lemon skin from the salad and throw it away.

Add the crushed peanuts and cashew nuts and toss well.

Serve with garlic bread or cheese toast.

Mango, tomato, onion salsa

Mango, tomato, onion salsa

I consider this summer in a bowl. It is a very welcome dish in the hot months and works well as a starter with nachos or chips and a side dish with pasta or biryani.


Mango 1 large, ripe

Onion 1 small, chopped

Tomato 1 medium, chopped

Green chilli 1, minced

Chilli flakes 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste


I use a mango that is firm. It should’ve ripe, but not squishy. Peel the mango and chop it into small cubes.

Add the chopped mango, onion, tomato and green chilli to a bowl.

Add the salt and red chilli flakes and toss it till everything is mixed well.

Let it rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Serve with nachos or chips.