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Som Tum - Green Papaya Salad

Som Tum - Green Papaya Salad

- from Sandra Molyneaux – adapted from Cooking with Poo, Sayuud Diwong

For a vegetarian version leave out the fish sauce and dried prawns.

Serves 4


1 to 3 fresh Thai or bird chilis, according to your taste, seeded, if you like less heat

3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 Tb. palm or regular sugar

2 to 3 Tb. lime juice

1 Tb. soy sauce

1 to 2 Tb. fish sauce

2 tsp. tamarind puree

2 medium Green papaya, peeled, seeded, grated or julienne *

1 carrot, peeled, grated

½ cup peanuts – roughly chopped

½ cup green beans, sliced on the diagonal

3 small-medium tomatoes, diced

1 Tb. dried prawns – optional**crushed in a mortar and pestle or finely chopped

lime wedges for serving

Cooked rice, for serving


  • Combine garlic, chili and sugar together in a mortar and pestle or food processor and crush into a paste.

  • Add lime juice, soy, fish sauce and tamarind and blend. Taste for seasoning, adding more fish sauce, chilies, sugar or lime juice if needed.

  • Combine grated carrot, papaya, tomatoes, beans and prawns in a medium bowl. Add the dressing and toss well, adjust seasoning.

  • Top with peanuts and serve with rice and lime wedges

* Green papaya is an unripe papaya and is hard and the flesh is tart and crisp similar to a granny smith apple. The color of the flesh is pale yellow not orange, as the ripe ones are. If you can’t find green papaya you can cabbage for this recipe.

** If you are not using dried prawns, add a bit more fish sauce or soy sauce for salt

What you want with this recipe is salt, hot, sweet and tart all in one dish.

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