Vietnamese Papaya Salad with Beef Jerky: Goi Du Du Kho Bo Recipe
I've posted several Vietnamese salad recipes (called gơi) but amusingly, I've never posting my favorite of all: Món gơi đu đủ thịt khô bò. The salad is made of shredded green papaya, daikon radish and beef jerky. I used Vietnamese-style beef jerky, which is slightly sweet and spicy. I love this type of gơi salad so much; I ended up polishing off three bowls. In the end though, I didn't feel too bad as this dish is pretty healthy. Now, if it were three plates of Vietnamese fried shrimp and sweet potatoes (called khoai lan chiên tôm)…
Note: Glossary of relevant Vietnamese cooking terms.
Bò = beef
Món = dish
Gơi = salad
Đu đủ = papaya
Khô = dried
Thịt = meat
Yields: 6 servings1-½ pounds green papaya, shredded
½ daikon radish, shredded
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
juice of 2 lemons, freshly squeezed
2 cloves pickled garlic (or fresh garlic), crushed and finely minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt (or regular salt)
½ teaspoon white pepper, freshly cracked using a mortar and pestle
2 teaspoons ponzu soy sauce, to taste
1 red Thai bird chile (optional: I didn't use any), seeded and finely chopped
3 to 4 ounces Vietnamese beef jerky
1 tablespoon Vietnamese mint
3 tablespoons Thai basil leaves, stems removed
Prepping the papaya and daikon radish: Once the papaya and daikon are shredded, combine them in a mixing bowl. Add a little water and sprinkle with salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes. Drain using a fine mesh colander. Rinse and discard the liquid. Place all the shredded mixture in a cheese-cloth and remove as much excess water as possible. Pat dry with paper towels.
Gỏi sauce (salad dressing): In a bowl, dissolve the remaining sugar in ¼ cup of boiling water. Let the water cool to room temperature. Add the lemon juice, ¼ cup of cold water and soy sauce. Mix in the garlic and red Thai bird chile (if used).
Prepping the beef jerky: Warm the beef jerky on a griddle pan on the stove, turning with chopsticks or tongs until both sides are slightly roasted. Let it cool for about 30 seconds, then snip it into thin strips using kitchen shears. Set aside.
Pat dry the pickled vegetables one more time.
Add the gỏi dressing. To make sure the salad isn't drenched in dressing, add a few tablespoons at a time until the desired dressing to shredded papaya ratio is reached. Toss thoroughly. Set aside for about 10 minutes. Drain and discard about half of the liquid; otherwise the salad will be too watery.
When you're ready to serve, add the chopped basil and mint. Toss well. Season with more soy sauce (if needed) and sprinkle the beef jerky on top (you don't want the beef to get soggy).
Serve with a bottle of Sriracha on the side for those who like the dish spicy.
Vietnamese mint has a very different flavor from regular mint. It also has darker vein markings on the leaves. It's commonly used in Asian salads, Vietnamese chicken salad and also in spring rolls (gỏi cuốn in Vietnamese).
I also added Thai basil that I tore into small pieces. The Thai basil imparts an intense fragrance to the salad; it has a stronger, earthier flavor than regular sweet basil.
To prevent the herbs from bruising and darkening, tear the leaves with your fingers at the very last minute, then toss then into the salad and serve immediately.
You can use fresh garlic instead of the pickled garlic but the garlic flavor is going to be a lot stronger. You can find pickled garlic in any Asian store.
I've become addicted to the Messermeister vegetable shredder. I think it's the best utensil for cutting vegetables into long, matchstick-like strings. You could also slice the vegetables with a mandoline.
I buy Vietnamese jerky at the Grand Century Plazza; it;s located at 1001 Story Road, San Jose. It's the best one for making gơi salad. I love it as a snack too!
This week, I couldn't find green papayas at Ranch 99 market, so I settled for not-fully-ripe Hawaiian papaya. The flesh is pale, yellow and still firm, which worked out fine. You can find green papayas at Dai Thanh Asian market on 420 South 2nd Street, San Jose. Pre-shredded green papaya is also available there.
I followed Robert's piece of advice (check out the comment section) and didn't discard the papaya seeds this time. I placed them in my newly purchased dehydrator machine and placed them in a spice grinder. It's delicious!June 3, 2011.