Long before there was Wikipedia, wiki meant "quickly" in Hawaiian. I remember moving to Guam in the mid 70's. My sister and I were fascinated by the new culture. The hotel where we stayed (for weeks if I remember correctly) had "wiki wiki" service. We were thrilled with the new foods--saimen bowls, our first non-Maruchan ramen experience, and the undeveloped jungle that surrounded the hotel. I remember eating pickled green papaya, chicken keleguen, and lumpia. Perhaps the seed for my life-long love of Asian food was sown at those "fiestas."
Fast forward to dinner last night. I was thrilled to find green papaya at H-mart. Som tam--green papaya salad-- was a wiki wiki way to consume it without having to wait for pickling. Maddy bought a papaya at a the grocery store hoping to make some of her own. Her text to me, "expletive, it's orange inside!" made me realize she had probably purchased a large, green-on-the-outside Mexican papaya. If you are hoping to avoid this surprise, make sure the papaya you buy is specifically labelled "green papaya." I have used underripe mangos in the past when I didn't live close to a good Asian grocery.
White Lady's Som Tam
2 tsp. minced red chili (I used a red serrano)
4 cloves garlic
2-3 TBS lime juice
2-3 TBS fish sauce
1/4 cup tamarind puree
2 TBS palm sugar mixed with 1 TBS warm water to make a syrup
1 medium green papaya, julienned (a julienne peeler is great for this)
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 tomato, cut into 8 wedges
Mash the pepper and garlic together using a mortar/pestle or just crush with flat side of a knife. Mix fish sauce, lime juice, tamarind puree, and palm sugar with the pepper/garlic paste. Taste and adjust seasonings. This is a really mild version so Sophie would eat it. Toss with papaya, top with cucumber/tomato/crushed peanuts and cilantro sprigs.
Unlike poi, chicken long rice is a luau favorite of Hawaiians and haoles alike. Here is my weeknight version:
I used the chicken from half a rotisserie chicken--take off bone, remove skin and shred
5 cups chicken broth
3 TBS grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 scallions, white and green parts sliced thinly
handful of cilantro + more for garnish
salt/pepper to taste
1 package bean thread noodles-soak for 10-15 min in hot water, drain and toss ith 1 TBS sesame oil
Put chicken broth, ginger, garlic, and green onions in a large sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer 20 min to establish flavor. Add chicken and bring to a boil. Add noodles and cilantro sprigs and simmer additional 2 min or until warm. Serve with more cilantro.