Adam Kaplan's Green Papaya Salad


Photo credit: Courtesy of Indie Chefs Week

Yahoo Food is a proud sponsor of Indie Chefs Week, a three-night dinner series in Costa Mesa, California celebrating America’s best up-and-coming chefs. Every day, until the first dinner on October 16, we’ll feature one chef and his or her favorite recipe. Click here to purchase tickets.

Who: Adam Kaplan, “originally from Philadelphia,” where he turned around the menu at For Pete’s Sake pub, “now rockin’ it with his wife in Portland,” Oregon, where he will soon open Bang Bang Curry House. Kaplan told us that Bang Bang will be like a Thai izakaya, with good drinks and curry-based comfort foods to accompany them.

Tool he can’d live without: A Vitamix. ”More often than not, I eat for texture and not for flavor—I have a real love of texture,” said Kaplan. “To me, something that’s velvety in your mouth is the best, so I refine traditionally chunky Thai curries and dressings by smoothing it in my Vitamix blender.”

Ingredient he’s obsessed with: Rau ram (Vietnamese coriander). ”It’s almost got this nutty flavor, so it’s like roasted peanuts and cilantro all in the same bite,” said Kaplan.

His recipe: Green Papaya Salad with Herbs and Crab. “I like food full of texture, and I like big bites of herbs,” said Kaplan. This dish has both.


Photo credit: Courtesy of Adam Kaplan

Green Papaya Salad with Herbs and Crab
by Adam Kaplan
Serves 8

2 green papayas, julienned
1⁄2 cup coconut meat, julienned
1⁄2 cup Roma tomatoes, julienned
1⁄4 cup long beans, blanched and cut into 2-inch pieces
6 shallots, very thinly sliced
30 shiso leaves, roughly torn
30 rau ram leaves, roughly torn
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup loosely packed Thai basil, roughly chopped
2 Thai bird chilies, minced
1⁄2 cup chopped peanuts 12 oz. Dungeness crab meat

2 Tbsp. tamarind concentrate
1 Thai bird chili
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. soft palm sugar
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 tsp. shrimp paste
2 tsp. red curry paste
3⁄4 cup peanut oil
Black pepper

1⁄2 cup crushed peanuts
1⁄4 cup crispy shallots 

For the salad: Gently toss all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

For the dressing: Combine all ingredients, except for oil, in a high-speed blender. Once mixture is smooth, slowly drizzle in peanut oil with the blender running until combined.

Toss salad mixture with the dressing (use only as much as needed). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Carefully place salad on a platter and garnish with peanuts and crispy shallots.

Kaplan’s favorite tool is a Vitamix, what’s yours? What can you absolutely not live without in the kitchen?