sweet grilled shrimp with green papaya salad

When people discover what I do for a living they always ask me what’s my favorite food to cook. I usually say, “I like to cook all foods, I don’t really have a favourite”. That’s kind of a lie, although not an intentional one. Some days I don’t like to cook anything. Nothing. I like to eat but cooking on my non-motivated days seems more effort than it’s worth. I long for a personal chef just like so many of you do. Don’t get me wrong, on those days I still love to look at pretty pictures of food, read what others are cooking and write recipes. Hell, I’ll even sit through a myriad of crappy cooking shows on television and feel suitably uninspired.

So here goes, at the risk of being pigeon-holed….my favorite food to cook is South East Asian. It’s my favorite to eat too so this only makes sense (well “duh” some of you are thinking, we knew that). Have you ever smelled or tasted Thai basil? Kaffir lime leaves? No? Poor you. South East Asian cuisine has a hedonistic blend of aromas and tastes that are as sexy and passionate as they are exceptional to eat and cook. If tastes and smells can be sexy and passionate, I think they can.

Over the years I’ve honed my cooking skills with guidance from Thai & Vietnamese chefs; I’ve traveled through parts of South East Asia; I’ve studied the cuisine of the region at college; I’ve eaten in countless South East Asian restaurants since I was a young girl and I’ve bought delectable food in Asia from street vendors as an adult. I’m no expert but I do know one thing, I love it. Passionately.

sweet grilled shrimp with green papaya salad

sweet grilled shrimp with green papaya salad

sweet grilled shrimp & green papaya salad


  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce (preferably Asian BBQ sauce but if not just whatever you have in the fridge will work, I’m not attempting authenticity here)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 16 large, raw shrimp, peeled and deveined


  • 1/4 cup grated palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 or 3 small red chilies, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 green papaya, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 8 small vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 green onion, thinly sliced
  1. To make the shrimp, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Marinate in fridge 1 hour if time permits.
  2. Thread shrimp onto skewers and cook over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes each side or until just cooked and charred a little.
  3. To make the green papaya salad, whisk palm sugar, fish sauce, juice, garlic and chilies in a medium bowl.
  4. Add green papaya, toss to coat. If you have a mortar and pestle, use the pestle to push down on the papaya, bang it a little like you would if you were crushing spices. I like to do this to help permeate the flavors into the green papaya a little.
  5. Add tomatoes and green onion; toss to combine. Pile salad into serving bowls. Remove shrimp from skewers and scatter over salad. Serves 2 to 3.
sweet grilled shrimp with green papaya salad

sweet grilled shrimp with green papaya salad

green papaya

green papaya




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  1. Lawrence says:

    I would have to disagree with one thing you said, you are indeed a expert! In fact you define the word. Passion, creativity, taste, & expertise jump off of every plate you prepare!

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