Green Papaya, Rambutan and Crunchy Coconut Salad with Tamarind Dressing

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As I sit here, waiting for these photos to up-load, I look at my hands. They are weathered, scarred, with dirty fingernails and lots of little cuts and pricks due to my current job featuring way to many spiky fish and prawns. I think; ‘I work too hard’. Then, I look up, and see the birds flying past and the beautiful green, tropical surroundings. I feel the warm breeze and appreciate the flavours of the cold spiced rum, lime and soda that I’m sipping on. Then I think; “I’m so, so lucky’.

Life for me at the moment is in such a funny and weird place, between living like a backpacker, working like a Chinese man (I’m allowed to make this judgement, I work with them), and trying to continue with my creative love of cooking and creating. All this, as well as trying to stop every now and then and appreciate the little things, and being part of a relationship that relies on one another to grow and succeed, is somewhat of a juggling act.

I’m not sure if I’m getting it right but there have been a few very exciting developments this week that make me feel as though things could be working out. Stay tuned!

This is a very simple recipe. I’ve been cooking lots of these kinds of meals lately, especially due to the heat and the abundance of produce growing in this yard. It seems ridiculous to go and buy things from the grocery store when we have more than enough food growing in  the yard. We just have to be creative. I think I’ve topped about twenty different way to eat a papaya by now! And if I don’t have to work on a Sunday then I love to go and buy the local produce. This was my first time trying rambutans and I absolutely adored them! We ate this salad with some whiting fillets, simply floured and lightly fried, oh so good.

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Recipe

Serves 2

ingredients

2 small green papayas, julienned on a mandolin or grated

1/2 spanish onion, very thinly sliced

5 rambutan (or lychee), peeled, de-seeded and quartered

1 cup, loosely packed, mint leaves

1/2 cup coconut chips (these are sweetened and roasted coconut chips. You can find them in gourmet food stores and some grocery stores)

Dressing

Thumb size pice of ginger, finely grated

1/2 tsp tamarind puree

1 long red chilli, finely chopped

1/2 tsp caster sugar

1/2 tsp fish sauce

1/4 tsp sesame oil

salt and pepper

Method

For the dressing, grind all the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle until well combined. Alternatively, use a small food processor or stick blender. Or, just very finely chop everything and mix well.

Toss all the salad ingredients together, except for the coconut.

Toast the coconut slightly in a hot frying pan (I know it’s already toasted, but this makes it so much better).

Toss the dressing through the salad, pile onto a serving platter and sprinkle with the still warm coconut.

Enjoy!

 

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