Green, unripe papaya is familiar to some diners as the principal component of the Thai salad som tum (pictured), but it is also used in a variety of savory dishes from papaya-growing regions. For instance, the shredded fruit can stand in for noodles in dishes like green papaya pad thai, JungMann says on Chowhound. And chicken and green papaya soup is a popular Filipino dish.
Green papaya is also used in small amounts to tenderize South Asian kebabs, and it “works magic” on the meat’s texture, luckyfatima says. Add around a tablespoon of finely grated or pulverized green papaya to the marinade for each pound of meat, and the result is grilled kebabs that are crusty outside, but “soft, almost silky” inside. An excellent example is Lucknowi lamb chops, from The Barbecue Bible! by Steven Raichlen, qianning says. You can freeze small portions of the prepared green papaya, then defrost as needed for cooking.
Green papaya can also be used in fresh condiments. Chowhound seamunky prepares it like the Vietnamese pickled carrot and daikon used on banh mi, while JungMann makes a Filipino relish called achara with shredded green papaya, carrots, peppers, chiles, ginger, and raisins.