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!
Not sure about you but I know I could never get tired of barbecues! Never. I prefer smokiness of grilled meats and freshness of summer salads to almost anything and 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.
Ever since my year in the Philippines in the late 90s I’ve felt as if eating Asian food was a part of my culture as well, so imagine my surprise when my lovely boss shared this traditional Thai salad with me.
I was intrigued and immediately inspired to make my own version of it.
What ingredients are in Som Tam?
I was intrigued because this salad’s main ingredient is green/unripe papaya along with green beans, cherry tomatoes and peanuts.
Papaya was a staple in the Philippines and we still buy it whenever we can but I never tried it green and my curiosity was peaked.
I was excited because I absolutely I adore Thai flavours, which I learned looong time ago were a perfect balance of salty, sweet, sour and spicy.
Since the dressing recipe was related to me in very loose terms I was prepared to experiment and luckily enough another friend stopped over, who spent some time in Thailand, who became my official taste tester! Scott, I couldn’t have done it with you! Lucy, thank you for the inspiration!
Thai Papaya Salad Dressing
As I mentioned earlier sweetness is one of the flavour anchors of Thai cuisine and palm sugar is traditionally used but you can use brown sugar.
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 for Som Tam?
If you do not have access to a green papaya, feel free to substitute with carrots, which have a very similar texture and a slightly sweeter taste. Other way this salad is guaranteed to be delicious!
More Thai recipes to try:
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
- 1/4 cup/125 ml fresh lime juice
- 2 tsp Tamarind sauce optional
For the salad
- 1/ 4-5 cups green/unripe papaya small
- 1 cup green beans raw
- 1 cup 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.