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anyone used green papaya shreds in a jar!?

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Right, so having moved somewhere stupid-far away from the tropics and not having such easy access to ingredients necessary for Thai food.. I have discovered that the local Asian grocery sells JARS of shredded green papaya (I think the ingredients were papaya, water, salt?).

Before I rush out and try to make som tam with it, has anyone used this and was it any good?

I'm guessing, but don't know, that it might be a good idea to rinse it a bit if it is stored in slightly salty water?

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  1. Sounds like it could be awful, but I'm curious to hear how it turns out.

    Here in Thailand, som tam is made with a wide variety of things other than green papaya. Shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, shredded green mangoes, diced apples, pears, grapes, cucumber, pineapple, orange, green beans, etc.etc. So don't hesitate to make som tam with other ingredients if this jarred papaya turns out to be yucky.

    Link: http://tomness.blogspot.com

    6 Replies
    1. re: Tom Meg

      I am also interested in the results of using green papaya shreds from a jar, since that would probably win the "easy" prize as well as being available. However, while we are (sort of) on the subject, what is the best tool to use to slice a fresh green papaya into long-ish matchsticks? Should I simply use a sharp knife as I would to make a pile of matchstick slices out of other fruits and vegetables? I don't have a mandoline, but I can imagine that might be the right tool? Something else?

      We had a delicious green papaya, shrimp, and mint salad last night with tangerine juice dressing that I am going to attempt to re-create today, and I am not quite sure how to tackle the slicing of the green papayas. Note to self: probably a good idea to get two papayas and assume I may mangle one before I get the hang of it.

      1. re: Olympia Jane

        Traditionally, you hold the papaya in one hand and gently twack away at it with a knife, causing random-sized shards to fall off of it. This takes a while until you get the hang of it, and there's also the danger of cutting yourself.

        Mandolines work fine too, though the texture tends to be more uniform. A purist might object.

        I think using a course grater or the shredding blade on most food processors is the least satisfactory option. Most are too dull and mangle the fruit.

        I've seen the Miracle Kom Kom knife used a lot over here (see link below). Seems to work well. I bought one a few years ago, but I haven't used it yet.

        Link: http://importfood.com/thai_knives.html

        1. re: Tom Meg

          Once you get the hang of the Miracle Tom Tom, you can use them for everything; I love mine! Think of it as constantly sharpening your papaya, or mango, or zucchini, to a point like a pencil, and you get the best results....i can demoilish a vegetable in minutes...;)

          Link: http://www.bistrodraw.com

      2. re: Tom Meg

        Okay, sounds like I should try it out and report back. I have done my share of wandering through Asian food stores at home (in Australia) and never seen this jarred variety (and would probably have no need for it since the fresh variety is available).

        But I am currently living in Finland so although I am surprised at what I CAN get (fresh galangal, lemongrass, chillis), green papaya is simply out of the question.

        Will buy some in the next couple of weeks and report back!

        Oh, and for chopping it, I have a tool similar to the kom kom one in Tom's post, which does quite a quick and satisfactory job of it.

        1. re: AnnaT

          Wow. I'm at home in Austin making my Mom's Cajun Redfish Court Bouillon, and I'm reading about someone that came from Australia who is now in Finland getting advice from an American (I presume) in Thailand about a dish that I screwed up three months ago b/c I used too ripe papaya. I just moved my Kaffir lime tree back outside!

          1. re: rudeboy

            Pretty wild, isn't it.

            I am American, by the way. My mom is Thai.

            Good luck with the tree!

            Link: http://meglioranza.com