Som Tum Thai (Green Papaya Salad)

Green Papaya Salad Som Tum or Green Papaya Salad, is not only refreshing and tasty as a summer dish, but very simple to make.  It is a spicy salad made from shredded unripe papaya. It is of Lao origin but it...

Green Papaya Salad
Green Papaya Salad

Som Tum or Green Papaya Salad, is not only refreshing and tasty as a summer dish, but very simple to make.  It is a spicy salad made from shredded unripe papaya. It is of Lao origin but it is also eaten throughout Southeast Asia. Som tam Thai, which contains peanuts, is the Central Thai variant that became famous internationally. The combination of sweet, savory and spicy are sure to invigorate any palate! 

You will need:

  • 1 Large Green Papaya
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed lightly
  • 4 Thai red and green chili peppers, lightly crushed (if you don't like it too hot, you don't have to use all 4)
  • 1 cup of shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup of tomatoes
  • 1 T of palm sugar or regular sugar
  • 2-3 tbs. fish sauce
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
  • 3-5 green beans

Directions:

  1. Peel and shred the green papaya
  2. Smash the garlic and chili peppers together.  If you don't have a large Mortar, you can use a regular bowl and tenderizer.
  3. Add the shredded papaya to the garlic and chilis and smash lightly.  Turn it over with a spoon and smash again.
  4. Add carrot, tomatoes and lightly smash
  5. Mix together palm sugar, fish sauce and lime and and to the shredded papaya and garlic chili mix
  6. Top with roasted peanuts and green beans

Tips:

Smashing - this technique is primarily done to release the oils and flavors from the ingredients.  It is not meant to turn it into soup.

Green papayas - can be hard to find.  The best places to look are Asian Markets or if your city has an International Market.  Peeling a green papaya is easily done with a regular potato peeler found in your kitchen.

Mortar and Pestle - very few people have a 3 or 4 cup size mortar and pestle laying around, so you can use your pestle and a large bowl.  You will still be able to achieve the same results.

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