Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Green Papaya Salad to Improve Enzyme Activity & Digestion

Green papaya / pawpaw salad ('som tum') can help to promote enzyme activity and, by extension, digestive health. Although digestion is my main attraction to this recipe, I am delighted by its additional health benefits that include internal cleansing. From my understanding, this cleansing benefit is heightened by the addition of cayenne pepper and citrus juice. The papaya - pepper - citrus combination has been used for years in countryside herbalism as part of a cleansing regime.
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There are so many variations to this recipe. However, below is how I have done it.

  1. Select a very firm green papaya. There should be no yellow or soft spots. In other words, the inside of the papaya should be white.
  2. Peel the green papaya
  3. Julien the green papaya to make roughly 8 oz of papaya. If you do not have a food processor or mandalin, you can also try the traditional Thai method. In Thailand, they repeatedly hit a side of the green papaya in random spots around a single area with a sharp chopping knife. Afterwards, they slice off that section to get Julien slices. You may even use a potato peeler to slice off the Julien strips after hitting the side of the green papaya with a knife.
  4. Chop, combine and mash together the dressing ingredients. A mortar and pestle are usually used to combine the flavours.
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  • garlic, to taste

  • dried shrimp, salted crab and or their pastes, to taste (for non-vegans).

  • hot cayenne peppers, to taste

Add and stir in the following ingredients until the sugar is well dissolved.

  • brown sugar, to taste

  • lime juice, roughly 1 lime or to taste

  • fish sauce, to taste (for non-vegans)

Add the green papaya shortly before serving. Other optional additions include the following.
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  • Crunchy yard long beans

  • cherry tomatoes

  • shredded carrots

  • crunchy raw Jamaican ackees, cubed

  • peanuts

While this salad is traditionally eaten with sticky rice, I generally eat it alone because it is surprisingly very filling. Besides, I realize that my challenges with digestion have been alleviated by not eating until I became bloated and heavy. 

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