Saturday, October 23, 2010

Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad)

Som Tum, or Green Papaya Salad, is a very common dish eaten throughout Thailand. It originated from Laos, but is now enjoyed by many in the United States. This spicy Thai salad is made from shredded unripened papaya. It is sour, hot, salty, and sweet...and absolutely delicious!

Som Tum (Som Tam)

1 teaspoon whole garlic cloves, minced
2-10 small Thai chilies (to taste), minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 long bean, broken into pieces
1 tomato
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 cup shredded green papaya
3 tablespoons dry roasted peanuts
1 cup chopped green cabbage

  1. First prepare the papaya by peeling the dark green skin. Then, hold the papaya in your hand, and smack the fruit lengthwise with a good sized knife. You want to create 1/2″ or so deep cuts into the fruit. Do this over and over until you’ve created a good amount of cuts. Watch your fingers! Then, cut the papaya lengthwise to produce long strips. You can also buy tools which can create long shreds. But I recommend using a cheese grater (the big holes), it is much easier. Thai people use the knife method though.
  2. In a bowl, add the whole garlic cloves and chilies. Pound with a spoon a few times to mash, then add the long beans. (If you want to be really authentic, mix ingredients together with a ceramic mortar & pestle.)
  3. Pound a few more times, and add a pinch of papaya. This helps mix the garlic & chilies. Pound some more.
  4. Add the sugar, fish sauce and pound more. Make sure everything is well mixed.
  5. Add the tomato, chopped into large pieces. Stir with a spoon. Add the lime juice and the rest of the papaya. You want to evenly coat the papaya with the juices while pounding the flavor into the papaya, but don’t pound so hard that the papaya disintegrates. Add the peanuts, mix and serve over a bed of chopped cabbage.
  6. Note: Don't pound the papaya too hard. You want to gently bruise the fruit, not smash it into bits or make it soggy. The papaya should be crunchy.


  1. Sarah, it looks like sauerkraut in the picture. Sounds good. If you make it, I'll eat it. love your website.

  2. Why don't you post a picture of the delicious peach cobbler I made last night. Leah took a picture and it looked like peach compote with chicken fried steaks over the top! lol.

  3. Thanks mom :)
    I would love to post a picture of your peach cobbler, just send your picture and recipe!


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