Papaya salad (Vietnamese: gỏi đu đủ) is a familiar dish of many Vietnamese people. There are various combinations of different ingredients such as: pawns & pork belly, beef jerky, “ba khía” muddy crabs, pig’s ears, dried & salted snake-head fish… The papaya salad version with pork and prawns (or you may call shrimps) is the most popular version of Vietnamese “gỏi” salad in general. Papaya salad with pawn and pork dish is nutritious, refreshing, delicious and easy to make.
Prepare a tub or a large bowl of cold water (the colder the better), put in a bit of sugar, lime juice (squeezed from one lime) and some ice cubes. Peel the green papaya and shave into long strips. In Vietnam, there is a kitchen to shave green fruit or roots into thin round trips like noodles. However, if you don't have such a tool, cut the papaya into julliene strips. Submerge the papaya in cold water for 4 minutes, then drain. This will keeps the white color and the crisp texture of the papaya.
Similarly, cut carrots into julliene strips, sprinkle some sugar and mix. Onions can be optional. If you want to add onions in this salad, cut into thin small strips, and mix with some sugar and vinegar to reduce its pungent taste.
Cook raw pork belly in a pot of cold water with some salt, ginger and/or some rice wine or some vinegar to move the gamey smell. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pork belly rest in the pot for a further 10 minutes. Remove the pork from the broth and allow to cool, then thinly slice or cut into juliiene strips (a little bigger than the papaya strips).
Cook prawns in the pork broth in the previous step. When it's done, drain, and let it cool, then devein and slice in half lengthways
Make a dipping sauce with a 2:2 ratio of sugar and fish sauce. Then stir in the garlic, chilli and lime juice. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and taste if the final sauce suits your taste buds.
First, in a large bowl mix the pork belly slices and prawns with a teaspoon of dipping sauce, and let the mixture rest for 5 minutes. Next, add all remaining ingredients including onions, carrots into the bowl, now add another teaspoon of dipping sauce and toss together.
Turn the salad out onto a serving platter. Garnish with the fried shallots, peanuts, chillis and herbs. Also, prepare a side dish of prawn crackers to eat with the salad.