Longrain Sydney is currently my happy place, and for me the pinnacle of the Longrain experience are their Betal Leaves. They are served encasing smoked trout for the meat eaters and for the vegetarians they put together a delicious green papaya and mango salad which is full of crunch, zing and attitude. A few weeks ago we had a go at recreating the vegetarian version. To do so we put together a green papaya and mango salad, which has loads of fresh herbs (coriander, mint and basil) a punchy dressing (chilli, garlic, lime, galangal and soy sauce) and finished it with some crunch (fried eshallots). We also added strips of a vegetarian version of bacon that we affectionately refer to as faken (fake bacon) to give it a protein injection. The outcome was delicious – not quite Martin Boetz standard but non too shabby either.
You will absolutely need a mandolin for this recipe, otherwise you’ll literally spend 4 hours chopping all of your ingredients. I promise you, your time is too precious for that kind of preparation.
Green Papaya Salad Served in Betal Leaves
Makes 30 leaves
1/2 large papaya (or 1 small one) (your papaya should be very firm, the flesh white in colour)
1 green mango
2 eschallots, peels and thinly sliced
1/2 cups each of basil and corriander
1/4 cup mint leaves
Crispy fried shallots
5 pieces of bacon-style rashers
30 betal leaves
5 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
3 red chillis, seeds removed and roughly chopped
a 5cm chunk of galangal chopped roughly
50 g sugar
50 ml light soy sauce
1 cup vegetable oil
Juice of 1 lime
1. Prepare the papaya, mango, cucumber and carrot by pealing and cutting into julienne with a mandolin. Place into a large salad bowl.
2. Thinly slice the onion and tomato and add to the bowl.
3. Wash and tear the 3 herbs and add these also, finally sprinkling generously with the fried eshallots
4. Meanwhile make the dressing by pounding together the garlic, chilli and galangal until nicely minced
5. Add the sugar, soy and oil to and combine well, finally add the lime juice and combine. Your dressing is now complete.
6. Mix the dressing thoroughly into the salad, this is best done with bare hands. You want to be quite rough with the salad so that it mixes well and you essentially infuse all of the ingredients together.
7. Next lay each betal leaf out and top it with about 1.5 tablespoons of salad.
8. Fry the bacon-style rashes and julienne them, placing about 4 strips on each betal leaf and serving the leaves whilst the strips are still warm.