Vietnamese vegan papaya salad – Delicious Vietnam #6

(Nộm đu đủ/ Gỏi đu đủ chay)

Vietnamese vegan papaya salad (Nộm đu đủ/ Gỏi đu đủ chay)

It’s the Vegetarian week here in Australia, and I thought it is the perfect time to share this delicious Vietnamese vegan green papaya salad. It is a perfectly crunchy salad with that classic clean and refreshing South East Asian flavors.

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of papaya salad in Vietnamese cuisine. The first one is perhaps more popular in the western world – thinly shredded green papaya, tossed with a sweet-sour dressing made of fish sauce, lime juice and sugar and things like meat and seafood just before serving. This is typically the kind of street-food that I adore, especially when you top it with excellent quality beef jerky (thịt bò khô). Just writing about it makes me hungry!

The second kind, which I made today, is a dish that northern people often make for a gathering meal. It still has the characters of the classic flavours – sweet, sour, a bit spicy and full of fresh herbs. However, the flavors are more gentle, and on the sweeter side of that fabulous sweet-sour combo.

The preparation for this salad is more like making a quick pickle. The papaya and carrot are left to be soaked with sugar and vinegar, and then squeezed out gently. What’s left, the moist vegetable mixture is then tossed with lots of peanuts and herbs. It keeps for at least a day. I actually find that the salad tastes better after a while.

To make life easier, this little tool is used to shred the green papaya… I found it at a Vietnamese grocery in Richmond.

Green papaya salad - the making

And I guess I just have to mention the beautiful movie called “Scent of the green papaya” (Mùi đu đủ xanh). Making this salad always reminds me of the character Mùi, and of my life in Vietnam, my grandparents’ garden.

I’m sending this entry to Delicious Vietnam #6, hosted this month by Javaholic. Details about this month event can be found here.

Vietnamese papaya salad

(Nộm đu đủ/ Gỏi đu đủ chay)

Serve this with a side dish, or as a meal on its own with marinade firm tofu. If you want something more substantial, it’s also great with grilled meat. I’ve used pistachio here since my guest is allergic to peanuts.

Printable recipe here

1 green papaya (choose the firm one)
3 carrots, medium size
3 garlic cloves, skinned and crushed finely
2 bird-eye chillis (adjust to taste), crushed finely

Dressing for the papaya mixture: 1 cup white vinegar, ¾ cup sugar
Dressing for the carrot mixture: 4 tablespoons sugar, 6 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup skinned, roasted peanuts (the unsalted kind) or pistachio, crushed roughly
1.5 cups or more of fresh herbs: use the mixture of your favourite Asian herbs. I like coriander (cilantro), Thai basil and Vietnamese mint (aka laksa leaves). Washed and leaves picked.


Prepare the green papaya first. Remove the skin, then cut the fruit in half. Remove the white seeds, then shred the papaya as thin as you can. Soak the shredded papaya in acidulated water to remove some of the natural latex for 30 mins.

Now, onto the carrot – peel off the skin and shredded the carrot just like you do with the papaya. Add the sugar and vinegar mixture (4 tablespoons sugar, 6 tablespoons white vinegar) and a pinch of salt to the carrot. Toss well, taste and set aside.

Drain the papaya well. Combine the dressing with the garlic, chilli and a pinch of salt. Toss through the papaya mixture. Taste (it should be quite strong in flavours).

Leave the papaya and carrot mixtures to rest for an hour or so.

Meanwhile, prepare the herbs by cut the leaves roughly.

To prepare the salad mixture, gently squeeze the dressing out of the papaya and carrot mixtures. You want a moist mixture in the end, so don’t squeeze too hard. Mix the carrot and papaya together. Now, taste the mixture – it should have that sweet-sour balance (more on the sweet side). Adjust with the dressing.

When it’s ready to serve, toss through the herbs and peanuts. This kind of salad keeps for a while. Enjoy!


Vietnamese Recipe Index by Photos

43 Responses to Vietnamese vegan papaya salad – Delicious Vietnam #6

  1. Hannah says:

    I love green papaya salad! This looks so good, and your photos are beautiful!

  2. OohLookBel says:

    This is one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes, and your version looks really fresh and inviting. And I love the pickled carrot.

  3. Cindy says:

    It looks beautiful, Anh! I've enjoyed similar dishes several times at restaurants but never made it at home. Perhaps this summer is the time. :-)

  4. Indonesia Eats says:

    Hmm I'm looking for that little tool for shredding blewah (a kind of cantaloupe) to make es blewah (iced blewah).

  5. Monet says:

    What a simple, fresh salad that bursts with color and flavor! I wish we had vegetarian week in America…what a great idea! I adore Vietnamese food, and I don't make enough of it at home. Thanks for sharing!

  6. leaf (the indolent cook) says:

    I like papaya salad and that looks delicious!

  7. tigerfish says:

    Look so refreshing! I don't think I have tried Vietnamese Papaya Salad, but Thai Papaya salad…always.

  8. foodwink says:

    Looks deliciously refreshing, Anh. I need one of those vegetable shredder too!

  9. La Table De Nana says:

    Yes your photos are so beautiful!

  10. shaz says:

    Sounds fabulous Anh! I'm a fan of both the dish adn the movie :)

  11. almostalwaysravenous says:

    mmmmm delish, reminds me of mums papaya / mango salads! can't wait to be back in melbourne (ie at home LOL).

  12. Little Corner of Mine says:

    Delicious! I like papaya salad.

  13. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets says:

    Mmm I order a similar Thai papaya salad very often. This looks equally delicious and probably even lighter and more refreshing minus the seafood components.

  14. Faith says:

    I have never had green papaya! I will definitely look for it…sounds like a lovely addition to this salad!

  15. the dainty baker says:

    This is one of my favourite salads ever! its so favoursome and totally satisfying!

  16. Christine@Christine's Recipes says:

    I know this green papaya salad is a very popular Vietnamese dish. Should try it out soon.

  17. Vanille says:

    A refreshing recipe, just perfect for these warmer Spring days !

  18. Heidi - Apples Under My Bed says:

    I have learnt two things form this post :)

  19. Prerna@IndianSimmer says:

    What a pretty space and what gorgeous photography Anh! I'm so glad you visited my blog and I got a chance to discover yours. Looking forward to learning a thing or two from you :-)

  20. Hearty Bakes says:

    Beautiful clicks and love this refreshing salad!

  21. maameemoomoo says:

    I've not tried green papaya salad before but girl, u had me at bird-eye chilis! :P

  22. Johanna GGG says:

    looks lovely – this is something I would love to make but it always seems a bit beyond me – maybe I need one of those gadgets

  23. An Open Book says:

    Hi Anh,

  24. <br><br><br><br><br>Dr.Sameena Prathap says:

    Hi Anh,

  25. Barbara says:

    This is a lovely salad, Anh. I've never seen anything like it. Carrot and papaya shredded together melded with herbs and a sweet and sour flavor. I've got to search for one of those veggie shredders….

  26. Food For Tots says:

    I love Asian style salad. This one looks so great that I'm definitely going to try it soon. Beautiful photos as always! 😉

  27. Junglefrog says:

    I love papaya salad! I have never made it myself but I have now bookmarked this recipe so I might… soon…

  28. My restaurants Melbourne says:

    mmm, the salad looks so refreshing.

  29. penny aka jeroxie says:

    That LOOKs seriously yummy! Light, refreshing and reminds me that I need to go to the gum more.

  30. Thiên Ân says:

    Hi Anh,

  31. 3 hungry tummies says:

    I have yet to try making the Vietnamese version. Looks fabulous!

  32. Hannah says:

    I must admit, I've never prepared papaya in a savory way before, and I rarely think to eat it at all. Thanks for the enticing reminder, your photos look good enough to eat! 😉

  33. Sarah says:

    National Vegetarian Week!? How awesome!! I should tell my fiance he has to give up meat for the week! (Yeah right, don't want to hear him crying evey night).

  34. Forager @ The Gourmet Forager says:

    I've got to send this on to my vegie friend – the poor thing just has to put up with fish sauce in her papaya salad when she's with us!

  35. Soma says:

    You know how sublime this looks. I have never had this before, but if I knew green papaya looked so good I would not have revolted eating some when I was young. We had a few trees at home and endless supple of papaya which would be cooked and I hated it with all my might:-) My mom however made a jam like chutney with green papaya and a ginger which has the aroma of the mango. That was divine.

  36. Sasa says:

    Any kind of papaya salad is a friend of mine ;P This looks lovely, now to get my hands on some green papaya…

  37. Fairlie says:

    We just had a fabulous holiday in Vietnam and became completely addicted to green papaya salad…but back here in Melbourne, I don't know where to go to buy green papaya? I'd appreciate any suggestions? I brought back one of the shredders.

  38. Aparna says:

    I'm really not a salad person but this is one of the few I do like. Apart from liking carrots and papaya, I love the flavour of peanuts in this.

  39. Kayla says:

    I love papaya salads, and have always wanted to make them! Thanks for the recipe!!

  40. Anonymous says:

    Hi Anh, I really enjoyed your post and saw a similar salad on sbs' Luke Nguyen's Vietnam. Are you able to tell me where in Richmond you got the tool to shred the papaya? I would love to also buy one, I am guessing one of the shops on Victoria St?

  41. Anh says:

    Shruti Igot this from a Vietnamese shop in Lalor, not Victoria St. But I am pretty sure you can get this in Vic street as well. Just ask them for the tool to shred papaya for salad, I am sure they can help u out!

  42. Julie Thomson says:

    Hi! I’m working on a papaya recipe round-up for The Huffington Post Taste and would love to feature your recipe. Please contact me if you’re interested. Thanks!

  43. […] Ok, I’ll try to say something more. Fresh, sharp, soft, crunchy, amazing, yes. Yes. How was that? Check out Anh‘s recipe and make something similar and beautiful yourself (link). […]

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