- 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 star anise pod
- 1 whole clove
- Sea salt
- 1 small ripe papaya (1 pound)—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 4 mint sprigs
- 1/2 large unripe green papaya—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces (3 cups)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon allspice berries
- 1 star anise pod
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery rib, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- One 13 1/2-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
- Six 1-inch strips of lime zest (from 1 lime), plus extra zest for garnish
- 4 basil sprigs
- 4 cilantro sprigs
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup very cold water
- Sea salt
- Hot sauce
- 1 cooked lobster tail (about 3 ounces), sliced crosswise 1/3 inch thick
How to make this recipe
- In a small saucepan, combine the unseasoned rice vinegar with 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, the mustard seeds, peppercorns, star anise, clove and 2 tablespoons of sea salt. Bring the pickling liquid to a boil. Put the ripe papaya in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot pickling liquid over it. Let stand for 1 hour, until cool.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar with the remaining 3 cups of water and the mint sprigs and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the green papaya and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 45 minutes. Strain the papaya and let cool slightly; discard the mint. Transfer the cooked papaya to a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cold.
- In a small skillet, toast the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, whole cloves, allspice berries and star anise pod over moderate heat, shaking the pan until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer the toasted spices to a plate to cool.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. Add the chopped carrot, celery, onion, ginger and lemongrass and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, about 7 minutes. Add the toasted spices and the wine to the saucepan and cook over moderately high heat until the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, 6 lime zest strips, basil and cilantro and bring to a boil. Cover and let stand off the heat for 30 minutes. Strain the coconut broth through a fine sieve set over a medium bowl, pressing hard on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Refrigerate the coconut broth until well chilled.
- Drain the pickled papaya and pick out the peppercorns, star anise and cloves; pat the papaya dry. Add the green papaya puree, lime juice and cold water to the coconut broth; season with salt and hot sauce. Ladle the papaya soup into shallow bowls, mound the pickled papaya in the center of each bowl and arrange the lobster on top. Garnish the papaya soup with lime zest and serve at once.
The green papaya puree and the coconut broth can be refrigerated separately overnight. The drained pickled papaya can be refrigerated overnight.