If you are ever in a mood for a salad that is a combination of spicy and tangy, consider making green papaya salad. It is a great alternative to your same old salads. Whole green papaya can be found at Vietnamese supermarkets. You can find them already shredded but it is quick and easy using a papaya peeler pictured below. This salad is crunchy from the green papaya and spicy from the fresh thai chili and tangy from fresh lime juice. But there is an asian flavor from the the dried shrimp, shrimp sauce, and fish sauce. You can omit the dried shrimp but you gotta have the fish sauce ( I used the good three crabs brand). There are cherry tomatoes ( I used roma tomatoes on hand) to balance out the flavors and give the dish a splash of color. I may even try yellow grape tomatoes next time. Some recipe even uses long green beans but I kept it simple. If you keep it chilled in the fridge overnight, the flavors come together. Gotta warn you that the subtle and strong flavors can be addictive! Go ahead and put a few red cherry (tomatoes) on top.
Green papaya salad
- 2 chili peppers
- 1 tablespoon dried shrimp
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tsp shrimp sauce
- 1 clove garlic. minced
- 2 cups shredded green papaya
- 1 lime
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated Sugar
- 2 tablespoons toasted peanuts (Optional)
- handful of cherry tomatoes
Tips and Techniques
For a vegetarian som tum, omit the dried shrimp and substitute soy sauce for fish sauce.
The balance of fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar and peppers listed here are guidelines. Som tum is an individual dish that you will find you might like yours with more, say, lime juice than what the recipe calls for.
In Thailand, green papaya salad is made using a clay mortar, wooden pestle and a spatula. Smash a clove of garlic first. Then add halved cherry tomatoes. Pound a few times to get the juice out of the tomatoes. Add chili peppers and crush them just enough to release the hotness, unless you like your salad really hot. Add the green papaya, dried shrimp, toasted peanuts, fish sauce, shrimp sauce, lime juice and sugar. Use the pestle to push the mixture up in the mortar and the spatula to push it down so that the mixture is mixed well.
However, if you do not have a big enough mortar you can crush garlic and tomatoes Set them aside in a large bowl. Add dried shrimp, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar to the bowl. Add green papaya and mix well. Serve with sticky rice, green beans and Thai basil.