Since our two papaya trees died of natural disease a few months back, it has been quite a while since we have papaya in our daily meals.
Everybody in the family loves young papaya salad with sardine tamarind dressing prepared by the family's great numero uno chef - my wife.
For the salad to be really appetizing, the papaya must be young and freshly harvested; the sardines (ikan selayang) must be equally fresh and grilled to perfection before they are shredded; and the tamarind juice must be just enough to give that disnct kick to the salad.
The papaya is shredded using a special papaya salad shredder and soaked in cold water plus some camphor to add to its crispiness. The pineapple is skinned and cubed. The cucumber is sliced. If available, young sentul or water apple is sliced.
The sardine is grilled and shredded when cool.
All the ingredients are lavishly drowned with the sardine tamarind dressing. Fried fish crackers are sometimes used to scoop up the excess dressing from the papaya bowl.
Enjoy your young papaya salad with sardines tamarind dressings.