Green papaya salad with smoked kingfish & tomato nam jim

Thrilled to have this recipe from my last 100 Mile Table lunch at Bangalow Guesthouse featured in the Winter 2012 issue of Sample Magazine…

Green papaya salad with smoked kingfish & tomato nam jim

Serves 4

This classic Asian salad is all about balance of flavours and contrast of textures. Don’t be afraid to be generous with the herbs as they really lift the salad beautifully.

¼ small green papaya, peeled, sliced into thin strips

320g smoked kingfish (see note), flaked into large pieces

½ small Lebanese cucumber, seeds scooped out, thinly sliced on the diagonal

A generous handful of bean sprouts

2 Tablespoons toasted macadamias

¼ loosely packed cup mint leaves

¼ loosely packed cup coriander leaves

¼ loosely packed cup Thai basil leaves

8 Vietnamese mint leaves

Nam jim (see recipe)

Ground roast rice, to serve ( see note)

Toss the papaya, cucumber, bean sprouts, macadamias and herbs together in a large bowl. Add the nam jim and toss through well to combine. Add the smoked fish and toss gently, then carefully assemble on a beautiful large plate. Sprinkle with ground roast rice and serve.

Tomato nam jim

1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped

2 coriander root plus a little stem, well washed, roughly chopped

½ long green chilli, seeds removed, roughly chopped

½ long red chilli, seeds removed, roughly chopped

I very ripe tomato, cut into 4

1 beautiful juicy lime

2 Tablespoons pale palm sugar, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon fish sauce (‘Boy” or ‘Megachef’ brands are my preferred)

Pound the garlic and coriander to a rustic paste in a mortar. Add the green and red chillies and pound a little further, until they start to break down (be careful not to take them too far as the more you crush at this point, the hotter your dressing becomes). Take the 4 pieces of ripe tomato and squash them into the paste with the pestle, without breaking them up too much. Now add the seasonings – firstly the palm sugar – use a stirring motion with the pestle to incorporate the sugar into the paste. Add the lime juice and fish sauce and stir through. Taste the dressing to ensure the balance of hot (chilli ), salty (fish sauce), sour (lime juice) and sweet (sugar) is just right. If you like your Asian dressings really hot, add a finely chopped small wild green chilli.

To smoke fish

Smoking fish is actually a very simple process whether using a stainless steel home smoker or an old aluminium Chinese steamer. I use the smoker so I can make my mess outside!

Make 2 shallow bowls out of aluminium foil, about 8cm diameter and 2cm high. Fill each foil half full with an equal mix of brown sugar, jasmine rice and orange pekoe tea. Place the foils at the base of your steamer and set your flame underneath.

Prepare your fish while the steam gathers. I use fish with a god fat and oil content – ocean trout, salmon, tuna or kingfish – but snapper, blue eye, hapuka all work well. The options are many. Place your cleaned, skinless fillets on a piece of greaseproof paper and place on the steamer rack. When there is ample steam, place the rack in the steamer and close the lid tightly. Kingfish fillets approximately 300-400g in weight will take about 4 minutes, but it is wise to check occasionally as it is all steam dependent. You want oily fish such as this to be smoky to taste but still tender and slightly undercooked. When you are happy, carefully remove the rack from the steamer and set the fish aside to cool.


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