Prepare for your tastebuds to be tantalised with this Thai Green Papaya Salad! Som Tam delivers so many flavours at once. Sweet, sour, salty, spicy. Yum!
Thai food lover? Take a look at our Vegetarian Thai Green Curry.
Not sure about you but I know I could never get tired of barbecues! Never. I prefer the smokiness of grilled meats and freshness of summer salads to almost anything.
That is why I am always giddy with excitement when I learn of a new side to go alongside my meat. Yep, I am a carnivore with a huge affinity for vegetables.
I’ve experimented with Asian flavours for a couple of decades now. Every since spending a year in the Philippines, I’ve carried a love of Asian food with me wherever I go.
So when a lovely friend shared this traditional Thai salad with me, I was super excited. The combination of flavours and textures intrigued me and immediately inspired to make my own version of it.
Som Tam ingredients
I was intrigued because this salad’s main ingredient is green/unripe papaya along with green beans, cherry tomatoes and peanuts. Papaya is a favourite and I buy it whenever I can. But I had never tried it green and my curiosity was peaked.
I was excited because I absolutely adore Thai flavours. Thai cuisine has mastered the perfect balance of salty, sweet, sour and spicy without sacrificing fresh ingredients.
The list of ingredients in this salad is not long, but is the perfect mix of taste and texture. There is no need to add a lot of ingredients if you add the right ingredients!
Thai Papaya Salad Dressing
The dressing recipe has a few influences, but combines some experimentation of my own. It’s creamy, spicy and just sweet enough.
As I mentioned earlier sweetness is one of the flavour anchors of Thai cuisine. Palm sugar is traditionally used and can be found in specialty stores and major supermarkets. If you can’t find it, brown sugar is a good substitute.
Other flavours that come in the mix are salty, sour and spicy delivered by fish sauce, tamarind and chillies respectively.
What can I use instead of green papaya?
If you do not have access to a green papaya, feel free to substitute with carrots. They have a very similar texture and a slightly sweeter taste. Either way this salad is guaranteed to be delicious!
More Thai recipes:
Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)
For the dressing
- 1 tbsp dry roasted peanuts
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 chilli minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce or vegetarian "fish sauce"
- ¼ cup /125 ml fresh lime juice
- 2 tsp Tamarind sauce optional
For the salad
- 1/ 4-5 cups /260g green/unripe papaya small
- 1 cup /150g green beans raw
- 1 cup /150g cherry tomatoes
- Cilantro for garnish
- 1 lime for garnish
- 2 tbsp roasted peanuts
For the dressing
- In a mortar combine peanuts, garlic, minced chilli, salt and Splenda® Granulated No Calorie Sweetener bash with a pestle until you have a paste and then combine with fish sauce, Tamarind sauce if using and lime juice. Set aside.
For the salad!
- Peel and cut green papaya on a mandoline in thin, long strips or use a vegetable grater. (Discard membranes and seeds) Cut raw green beans and cherry tomatoes in half. Mix papaya, bean and cherry tomatoes, add the dressing and toss the salad gently until evenly coated. Set aside for the flavours to meld for 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes the mixture should be quite wet.
- Serves garnished with slightly crushed roasted peanuts, cilantro and limes wedges.