A bowl of fermented green papaya rice noodle salad on a wooden table

Fermented Green Papaya Salad with Crispy Papaya & Savory Dressing

Green papaya carries a mild, cucumber-like texture and is typically shredded and mixed with a savory, tangy, sweet dressing made of fish sauce, chile and tamarind. It is then tossed with snake beans, cherry tomatoes, peanuts and Thai basil.

When typically making slaw-type vegetable dishes, salt will continue to draw moisture from the produce. This process can dilute the dressing, and the vegetables are left soft and sitting in a pool of liquid.

This is where one of the many benefits of fermentation comes in. The shredded green papaya is placed in a flavorful brine of Thai chile, garlic and palm sugar for seven days. The resulting papaya is not only crisp but also embedded with flavor, so very little additional dressing is required.

What’s Good to Know with Chef Olivia:

  • Use extra fermented green papaya for salads, slaws, sandwiches or even fillings for spring rolls.
  • Make sure to peel your green papaya and scrape out the white seeds before shredding.
  • To shred your green papaya, use a sharp knife to create hand-cut strips or alternatively use a Japanese mandoline or julienne peeler.
  • Cook rice noodles for a few minutes and toss them with the dressing while they are still warm so that they soak up all the flavors and do not clump together.
  • Adding cooked rice noodles to the fermented green papaya salad helps soak up additional brine, concentrating the garlic and Thai chile flavor.


Fermented Green Papaya Rice Noodle Salad Recipe

Yield: 12 cups



For the Thai Fermented Green Papaya: 
Yield: 1/2 gallon jar

  • 1 green papaya, peeled, seeded & cut into thin strips
  • 6 Thai chiles, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • water, to cover

For the Fermented Green Papaya Rice Noodle Salad & Assembly:

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup fermented brine
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, or to taste
  • 1 (8 ounces) package rice noodles
  • 2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 8 cups fermented green papaya
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts


For the Thai Fermented Green Papaya: 

  1. Place green papaya strips, Thai chiles, crushed garlic cloves, palm sugar and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Massage gently for a few minutes and fold in rice vinegar.
  3. Pack mixture into a 1/2-gallon sterilized glass jar along with any residual liquid.
  4. Place in fermentation weight and cover with water, until level reaches 1 inch below lower jar rim.
  5. Attach air lock lid and ferment at room temperature for 7 days. 
  6. Refrigerate for extended storage.

For the Fermented Green Papaya Rice Noodle Salad & Assembly:

  1. Whisk together canola oil, fermented brine, agave nectar and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Bring medium pot of water to a boil.
  3. Cook noodles for 4 to 5 minutes. Add cut beans for and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Strain and transfer to large bowl with dressing. Toss to evenly distribute.
  5. Fold in cut tomatoes, fermented green papaya and roasted peanuts.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

More fermented recipes from Chef Olivia:

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