COOKING AROUND THE WORLD: THAI SOM TUM (SPICY GREEN PAPAYA SALAD)
Spicy Green Papaya salad has become an obsession of mine while I was living in Thailand. I’ve had this salad a couple of times before when I would order Thai food at a local restaurant, but it wasn’t unit I actually made me by myself that I became absolutely obsessed with it.
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Som Tum is the perfect balance of flavors from sweet and spicy (though I add way too much spice in mine, I love the kick), fresh citrus flavors, crunch at the end. I took a cooking class when I was in Chiang Mai where I literally had the best Thai food I have ever eaten in my entire life (yep the food that I made was the best food I’ve eaten in Thailand). We went to the market, picked up all fresh ingredients needed for our meals then went back to cook. It was my first experience making this dish. I shortly learned how easy it is to make and was obsessed with it even more. Here is my version of this amazing delicious salad. Gin hâi a-ròi!
Makes: 2 servings
- 6 medium dried shrimp
- 2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. Asian fish sauce
- 3 tsp. light brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 red chili pepper (use less if you don’t like spicy)
- 1 large green papaya
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- ¼ lb green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 2 dozen cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/3 cup chopped peanuts
- In a small bowl, cover the dried shrimp with hot water. Let stand for 5 minutes, then drain.
- Using a serrated knife, halve the papaya crosswise and peel the skin. Scrape out the seeds. Using a mandoline, julienne the flesh (you should have about 5 cups).
- Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk to combine evenly and set aside.
- Using a mortar and pestle, pound the chiles to a coarse paste with the garlic. Add papaya and carrots and pound until liquid begins to form in the bottom of the bowl. Add the green beans and lightly pound them. Add the tomatoes and lightly pound them. Pour in the lime liquid and ½ of the peanuts. Stir the mixture with a spoon to blend together.
- Scrape the mixture into a large bowl. Add extra peanuts on top and serve.
Gin hâi a-ròi!
- For a vegetarian Som Tum omit the shrimp and substitute the fish sauce for soy sauce.
- In Thailand a large mortar and pestle are used to pound all the ingredients together. The pounding releases the juices that give the salad that special blended taste. You can still get still get the same effect if you don’t have a mortar. Use a mixing bowl and smash the salad with a muddler or meat tenderizer.
Did you love this recipe? Did you make some modifications of your own? Tell me what you thought in the comments below.
Xoxo Ania Travels 💜
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