Shredded carrot most closely matches the texture, if not the colour or flavour, of green papaya. This recipe is similar to one that has proved successful at the restaurant chain in Thailand where I used to work, and also utilizes ingredients easily found outside of the country. You can of course substitute fresh string beans for the long beans.
Just in case you were thinking that every meal at my place is a gourmet feast, I thought I would post a recipe that represents a more typical lunch or dinner for me. Instant noodles have become something of a staple in modern Thailand, since they're quick and easy to make. During the big Bangkok floods of late 2011, it was instant noodles that supermarkets couldn't keep on the shelves, not rice.
Some people turn up their noses at sweet and sour stir fry because "it's not Thai". The dish is perceived as Chinese, although if you're going to quibble, Thai food is largely a mix of Chinese and Mon influences so a lot of dishes are Chinese to some extent. Be that as it may, the dish is popular at the curry stall. Its mildness forms a good counterbalance to spicier dishes.
Thai name: Som Tam Tua Kaek
There are those that would insist that som tam can only be made with green papaya, but in fact Thais have created an almost infinite number of variations on the dish, using a variety of fruits and vegetables. This one offers an interesting way to dress up a simple vegetable like fresh green beans.
In Thai: Som Tam Mama
Instant noodles - often called Ramen noodles in the US - are a very popular light meal or snack in Thailand. While they may be something you thought you left behind when you left college, chances are you never ate this well back in school.
Glass noodle salads (yum woon sen) are one of the most common yum salads you'll find in Thailand. They can be quite light, but with a sweet and tangy taste. A bit of ground pork is the most common meat, but you can also add a few shrimp or some cooked squid if you like. You can also leave out the meat entirely for a vegetarian version.
This recipe is my own creation, although it's simple enough I wouldn't be surprised if something very similar already existed. My inspiration for this dish came from a small side salad I had a few years ago, I think on a flight. It was just corn and a little diced capsicum with a balsamic dressing. It was quite easy to reproduce, and while it was fine for a side dish, I wanted to create something a little more substantial I could use for a light meal or snack.
This is one of my favorite lazy bachelor recipes. It makes enough to keep me from having to cook for a week or so. In fact, not only does it make good leftovers, it actually improves with age - so much so that I generally make it a day ahead of when I want to start using it.
Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls and sauce