Here is an idea…why not pair IPA, green papaya salad and Chinese sausage? You really should try it. Both Chris and I cannot recommend it enough. I am confident that if you like citrusy, zesty IPAs you will end up feeling grateful for the sheer scale of flavor and aroma magnification that happens with this pairing.
Just think about it. One of the most coveted traits of American IPAs is the aromas from the American hops. A hop forward IPA with citrusy, floral, tropical fruit notes is not only intoxicating, but when paired with the right food becomes irresistible.
The beer in today’s pairing is Green Flash Brewing Co.’s Tangerine Soul Style IPA. It has it all – bright citrusy and tropical aromas looking slightly hazy with a fine head. It is medium bodied with an ABV 6.5%. Even though IBU is 75 it is mitigated by the persistent tangerine zest and nice tongue coating juiciness at the end. Moderately carbonated, spells out summer and just really well crafted. We are fans.
Talking about tropical fruit – while neither of us is a huge fan of ripe papaya (nothing against it, we just do not feel that drawn to it), it is quite a different story when it comes to green papaya. Because we can make green papaya salad with it!
To buy green papaya I have been known to drive an hour in one direction to the closest well stocked Asian market. Chris says he could do without green papaya because he knows of my motivation to obtain some. Plus, we can only get Chinese sausage at the Asian market, as well as the dried shrimp used in this recipe.
How about Chinese sausage making its way into this pairing? Well, we are partial to it being matched with green papaya salad. Because we have a story about almost being kidnapped by a taxi driver in Shanghai that ended with us being total nervous wrecks. Luckily – safe nervous wrecks, who that same evening tasted green papaya salad and rich, warm and fatty Chinese sausage side by side… We forgot all about the taxi fiasco and as we stuffed our faces full of citrusy, salty, spicy and sweet shredded papaya and delicious sausage we wished for one thing. That the restaurant had an IPA on their list. It was that obvious.
Here is how to put this pairing together, besides buying awesome citrusy IPA. We developed the version of this salad over the last two years. It calls for green onions instead of the most commonly used green beans. It really works better.
For the quantity of salad in our recipe, you need only half of the papaya (a reasonably large papaya assumed). Or you can double all the ingredients and make a ton of salad and invite your friends so they can owe you one for exposing them to such an awesome pairing.
You need to clean the seeds and peel the skin, then use the mandolin to shred the papaya. Next you need to wash the tiny dried shrimp, then pat them dry and throw them in a medium heat pan to dry up until they are crisp again. This sounds silly, but it makes a difference as more flavor is released. When they are dry again, soak them in a warmed up brown sugar and water mixture (add water to the brown sugar and warm up in the microwave). You also need to crush the Thai chilies to almost a paste as shown below.
Once you complete the rest of the steps in the recipe below, you will have a citrusy IPA worthy salad! Now on to the Chinese sausage. We like two varieties. One is called…Pork Chinese Sausage (pictured at bottom). The other one is called Sweet Chinese Sausage (also made with pork). I know, very creative. There are several brands, but we haven’t noticed that big of a difference between them texture and flavor wise.
After you cook the sausages you are ready to dig in. Hopefully you already tasted your citrusy IPA of choice and got familiar with it while making the food. Then you can really taste how its flavor pops and is highlighted by the salad and sausage.
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
Recipe for Green Papaya Salad
- ½ green papaya (peeled and shredded)
- 4 medium green onions
- 6 grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp key lime juice and 1 key lime sliced for garnish
- 1-2 small Thai chilies
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 tbsp dried shrimp (rinsed & patted dry, then dried in a pan until crispy)
- 2 tbsp unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 1½ tbsp brown sugar
- ⅓ tsp water
- 1 tbsp Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
- 1 tbsp Ponzu sauce or soy sauce (optional)
- several links Chinese sausage of your choice
- Start by prepping the papaya - slice in half, clean out seed, peel and shred. Set aside.
- Place water and brown sugar in a small bowl and warm up for 30 sec in microwave. Set aside.
- Measure out the shrimp, wash it, pat it dry then dry it in a pan over medium heat, no oil, until crisp again and fragrant.
- Add shrimp to (now) pasty brown sugar. Mix well.
- In a mortar, pound chili(s) into paste. Add minced garlic and lime juice.
- Slice green onions in medium diagonal pieces and tomatoes in quarters.
- In a mixing bowl combine shredded papaya, green onions, tomatoes and peanuts.
- Add shrimp & sugar mixture and toss a few times.
- Add the fish sauce and (if using) the Ponzu or soy sauce.
- Add the Thai chili, garlic and lime mixture.
- Toss everything together. Put in fridge to chill while you are cooking the sausage. Once sausage is ready, serve in bowls with plenty of the liquid.
- Place sausage links inside a 350 F oven. After 5-6 minutes flip them over. In 5-6 more minutes they are done. Slice them in diagonal pieces and serve.