Many of us are looking for alternatives to meat meals these days. Try this vegan Thai dish from Auckland’s East restaurant executive chef Harmeet Singh – it is sophisticated and full of flavour, yet relatively easy to recreate at home.
Serves 3-4 as a starter or part of a shared meal
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1⁄2 red chilli, sliced (add more if you like it hotter)
3 cups raw green papaya, julienned or very finely sliced, see notes
1⁄4 cup green beans, cut in 5cm pieces and slit in half
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon roast peanuts, crushed, plus extra for garnish
Microgreens, to garnish
1 lime, sliced in cheeks
1 1⁄2 tablespoon tamarind, seedless, or use paste, see notes
1/3 cup palm sugar or brown sugar
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons vegan fish sauce or regular fish sauce, see notes
1. Soak tamarind in water overnight. Remove the pulp, push through a sieve and set aside (or use paste). Melt palm and caster sugars in a pot over a low heat. Add tamarind and cook for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.
1. In a mortar and pestle, pound crushed garlic and sliced red chillies until there are no large chunks (or crush with the back of a knife).
2. Combine pounded garlic and chilli with raw papaya, green beans, cherry tomatoes, crushed peanuts and half the cooled dressing. Mix well.
3. Plate and garnish with crushed peanuts and microgreens, and serve with a lime cheek.
Green papaya can be found at Asian grocers, either fresh, or grated and frozen. You could substitute other grated veges, like carrot or zucchini. Vegan fish sauce is readily available online.