Making this recipe took a trip to the international market. First on the list, fresh galangal - my helpful produce guy and I were having trouble communicating and I was probably mangling the pronunciation, but he assured me that the malanga that he was selling me was really galangal. I was a believer, but then I found the real galangal on my own while he was off cutting a piece of malanga for me. Malanga is the Spanish word for taro root. Moving on to kaffir lime leaves - there was a lot of discussion among the produce people about this one. From what I could understand he was saying, it is illegal to sell fresh kaffir lime leaves in the state of Virginia, but and he waved off in the distance, maybe I could find some somewhere else. Next up green pawpaw, which is actually green papaya and got me a look that said "now you're just making stuff up and you're probably smoking those lime leaves to boot." But I could have turned the tables on him when I asked for snake beans and he handed me a package of snow peas. I found the rest of my ingredients on my own, and was too embarrassed to put the taro root back right in front of him, so I bought it.
But was the recipe worth all this aggravation? Not in the opinion of my sister Jeanne and I, who were the tasters on this. We both found it kinda bland, except for the green papaya, which was an interesting tasty addition. Maybe the contraband leaves would have spruced up the flavor.