Have I mentioned that I once booked a month long trip to Thailand drunk? Well I did. Feeling sick and like I’d swallowed an ash tray, I remember my eyes squinting at about 8 confirmation emails about my trip. Trip? What trip?… Oh dear.
I scroll down one of the emails confused and dizzy, where the hell am I supposed to be going? Thailand it seems. To do what? Work with turtles. Okay, well that doesn’t sound too bad, now what’s that number? Is that a reference number? Oh wait, there’s a symbol in front of it, is that a pound sign?… £2,800… TWO THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED POUNDS!!!
After I’d finished being sick, I came to the conclusion that it could have been a lot worse. A ‘turtle’ project, could very easily have been a ‘lion’ project and I’m the kind of person who would totally get mauled by a lion.
So anyway, eight months later, off I went to Thailand to save the turtles. Not sure how many I actually saved, only saw a couple but I did get a very nice tan and ate lots of lovely Thai food. I was lucky enough to have all my meals cooked for me by an elderly Thai woman called Pah Nii. Most days, she’d make me a papaya salad that consisted of shredded unripe papaya, chilli, garlic, peanuts and lime. Finding an unripe papaya in London though was always going to be tricky, so instead, I’ve substituted it for raw courgette, which has a similar texture. It’s not quite as good as Pah-Nii’s, but it’s close. Enjoy!
Spicy Thai Salad
Serves 2 / Takes 15 minutes / Vegan
You’ll need: A pestle and mortar
For the salad:
2 medium courgettes, grated (or an unripe papaya or mango)
Handful of green beans (around 15 cut into quarters)
3 medium tomatoes chopped
2 Tbs dry roasted peanuts
1 lime cut into quarters
For the dressing:
2 garlic cloves
Pinch of salt
Half a medium red chilli, seeds in (this salad is pretty hot so if you don’t like too much heat, I suggest using a quarter of a chilli and remove the seeds)
1 Tbs dry roasted peanuts
2 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp light brown sugar
1. Grate the two courgettes and put then in a large bowl along with the chopped tomatoes and the green beans. Mix and put to one side.
2. In a pestle and mortar, start by mashing together the chilli and the garlic with a good pinch of salt (no need to pre-chop either of these, as the mashing will break them up and combine them into a paste). Keep mashing and bashing for a few minutes until you have a paste. Add a tablespoon of peanuts and continue to mash for another minute (it’s okay if the paste is a bit grainy).
3. Now add the sugar, a tablespoon of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of lime juice to the paste and continue to mash until incorporated.
4. On a chopping board, roughly chop the dry roasted peanuts and add them to the courgettes and give the salad a stir. Pour over the dressing and stir again until well dressed. Pour out onto plates and serve with the limes wedges.
If you’ve had a go at making my salad or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org