Wednesday, 7 August 2013

bill granger's green papaya salad with char-grilled beef

Those of you who regular pitch up here to read the latest update, only to discover I'm as tardy as ever and curse the very ground I walk on, will know I bow to no man in my appreciation of the mighty Bill Granger.

However it's nice to know there was a time before he was a globe-striding camp cooking behemoth. When he was just a chap who owned a couple of really quite good restaurants in Sydney, and was convinced to write a cookery book.

What I like most about Sydney Food (apart from the fact I've nicked it off Kendra) is its gauche charm: Everything in it is quick, simple and available, reflecting the rhythms of the restaurants, and I suspect, Bill's wide-eyed joy at somebody paying him to write about something he loves. In it he displays a magpie's eyes for flavours and cuisine, where everything is grist to his cooking mill, giving you easy-to-recreate tastes of the Pacific.

Tonight's experimental salad is a case in point, even if green papaya is harder to come by in the supermarkets of Blighty. It's an unashamed take on Thailand's classic Tom Som Salad, full of zesty lime-spiked, fish sauce-sour flavours drenching cooling cucumber, fiery chilli and, because South West London only does Perfectly Ripe Papaya, delicately honeyed fruit. Not only that, it's super-cheap and quick.

The only downside in fact, was I couldn't attempt this bonkers method of shredding the papaya. If you're not sure about trying it with ripe-ish fruit, apparently you can simply replace it with white cabbage, which seems even more bonkers, but definitely worth investigating.

Wine Time
There's only direction I'm headed with Thai food, and that's with crisp, cooling wines with a nice dollop of residual sweetness to tame the heat. Think Gewurtz, Riesling, Prosecco and even Moscato - but try to aim for off-dry, so the sugar doesn't overwhelm everything.

green papaya salad with char-grilled beef - Bill Granger, Sydney Food, p102

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