Papaya Salad


Papaya salad is a staple amongst most Cambodian homes. There are many different ways to make it…it all boils down to taste and preference. Thai style has just the basics like fish sauce, lime, sugar, and chili peppers. Some people like to add peanuts, basil, or even use Chinese long beans. ¬†Cambodian and Laos people like to add prahok or padek which is a fermented fish sauce that is used as the base of the salad. I have many different variations of prahok sauce that I make, where I combine many different types of fermented pastes. So feel free to experiment and use whatever you have in your pantry. The sauce can vary from dark in color to lighter depending on what brand I use, or how much water I add. Some people don’t even cook their sauces before they make the salad and just add it straight into the papaya right away. My most favorite way to make it, is actually with pickled baby crab. Haha. You are either, one: completely grossed out by what I just mentioned or two: salivating at the thought of tiny crab legs poking out of the spicy and sour goodness. Lol. I can’t get that locally but if you can find it, it’s also a good addition to your papaya salad. Either way, this recipe is a great recipe for beginners…make sure to taste check and adjust seasoning as needed.



10 ounces of shredded GREEN papaya(you may add in some carrots sliced julienne)

some cherry tomatos, halved

2 garlic cloves, peeled

Thai chili peppers

1 lime

1 1/2 tsp of sugar

1 Tbsp of Prahok sauce(recipe below)

1 1/2 Tbsp of good fish sauce


For the Prahok sauce:

1 Tbsp of shrimp paste

1/3 cup of fermented fish paste(mud fish/prahok)

1/4 cup of fermented fish paste(mud fish/prahok) boneless

1 cup of water

1/2 tsp of MSG(optional)


Mmm…my papaya salad served with baked chicken wings, which is one of the most common pairings in Cambodian culture.


Here is the link to my baked chicken wings recipe.

Combine in a saucepan, ingredients for the prahok sauce. Mix well. On medium heat, cook the prahok sauce, making sure to keep it a rolling boil for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Set aside and allow to cool completely before using.

In a mortar and pestle, add in 2 garlic cloves along with some chili peppers. Just one or two if you do not like it spicy. Pound it well until almost like a paste. Add in your shredded papaya, prahok sauce, sugar, fish sauce, and half of a lime(including it’s pulp). Pound again and use a spoon while your smashing it to help you incorporate all of your ingredients together. Taste check. Adjust seasonings as needed. Remove onto serving dish. Repeat process.

Serve immediately. If you have any leftover prahok sauce, make sure to put it in an airtight container. Keep in your refrigerator for up to one month. Papaya salad is also delicious with a side of green cabbage or water spinach(trokuon). Don’t forget to check out my recipe for Asian baked bbq chicken(recipe can be found here)
which is my favorite thing to eat with papaya salad.

Here’s the link to my kick-ass, julienne peeler:¬†Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler (Google Affiliate Ad)