Monday, August 17, 2009
Paw Paw Salad
I'm a vegetarian (yes, I'm proud of it!!) and I have now adapted to the Aussie food scene, quite well I must say. If it's Thai, then there are the veg. green and red curries; if it is burgers, then there is the classic veggie burger option; Italian, hmm well, veg.pasta or pizza; Chinese there's veg. fried rice or Singapore noodles...see? I don't have to starve I can still eat out :) Anyways, there are a few good things that happen because I'm vegetarian (and have limited options) and one such thing was the Paw Paw Salad I had in one of the colourful markets in Darwin and oh! I was in love with it! Fresh, simple flavours and so light, (mmmm) it is an absolute delight. Although, it does give your body that boost of heat ('cos of the green paw paw/papaya and chillies), so make sure you balance it off with something cooling, like cucumbers or buttermilk or coconut water, whatever (or some chilled beer, as M would say!)
I'm not quite sure if paw paw and papaya are the same. It was my first and I really loved it. I haven't tried it at home yet, but I'm sure I will soon. But here's how the lady at the stall made it-
In a big(gish) wooden mortar and pestle, she threw in a handful of roasted peanuts, a few fresh chillies (she asked me how hot I wanted it and believe me I said 'medium', but it was more than my scale of 'medium'!), a few slices of tomato, some salt and lemon juice. Then she lightly crushed everything before adding thinly sliced raw paw paw. She then tossed it all together, scooped it into a container and handed it to a drooling me! And as local musicians sang and played the guitar, I couldn't wait to dig into the heaped box of freshness. It was a complete market feel - the music, the waft of hot food from the stalls, the crunch and the spice of my salad and some crispy pakoras to go with it (and of course, M by my side!).