Som Tum Thai Recipe | Traditional Thai Green Papaya Salad

Som Tum, also known as Green Papaya Salad, is a popular and iconic dish in Thai cuisine. It is loved for its vibrant and bold flavors, combining sweet, sour, spicy, and savory elements in a refreshing and healthy salad. Som Tum is a quintessential example of the Thai approach to balancing flavors and textures, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

The star ingredient of Som Tum is green papaya, which is shredded into thin strips or julienned. While green papaya is the classic base, there are several regional and ingredient variations of Som Tum. Some popular versions include Som Tum Thai (the traditional version), Som Tum Laos (which can be much spicier), and Som Tum Mamuang (with shredded green mango instead of papaya). Som Tum's vibrant colors, enticing aroma, and delightful taste make it a memorable and enjoyable dish that embodies the essence of Thai cuisine. Whether you savor it as street food in Thailand or prepare it at home, Som Tum is a must-try for anyone who appreciates the complexity and balance of Thai flavors. Here's a classic Som Tum Thai recipe that you can try at home

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Som Tum Thai Recipe - Recipica

Ingredients of Som Tum Thai Recipe:

For the Salad:

  • 1 green papaya (about 1 pound), peeled and seeded
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2-4 Thai bird's eye chilies (You may adjust according to your spice preference)
  • 2-3 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 long beans, cut into 2-inch pieces (substitute with green beans if unavailable)
  • 2-3 tablespoons roasted peanuts
  • 2-3 tablespoons dried shrimp (optional, omit for a vegetarian version)

For the Dressing:

  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons palm sugar (adjust to taste)

Instructions of Making Som Tum Thai:

1. Prepare the Papaya:

  • Cut the peeled and seeded green papaya into thin, julienne-like strips. You can use a knife or a special shredder called a "som tam" shredder.

2. Make the Dressing:

  • Pound the garlic and Thai bird's eye chilies to a paste in a mortar and pestle.
  • Add lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar to the mortar. Stir and pound gently to combine until the palm sugar dissolves. Taste the dressing and adjust the flavors to your liking by adding more lime juice, fish sauce or palm sugar as needed.

3. Combine the Salad:

Combine the shredded green papaya, halved cherry tomatoes, long beans, roasted peanuts, and dried shrimp (if using) in a large mixing bowl.

4. Toss and Pound:

  • Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients.

Now gently toss and pound the ingredients together using a large spoon and a pestle or the back of a spatula. The pounding helps to release the flavors and soften the papaya slightly.

5. Serving of Som Tum Thai:

  • Transfer the Som Tum to serving plates or a serving platter.
  • Garnish with additional roasted peanuts and dried shrimp if you desire.
  • Serve your Som Tum Thai immediately as a refreshing appetizer or side dish.

6. Some Useful Tips:

  • If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can use a large mixing bowl and a sturdy spatula to mix and slightly crush the ingredients together.
  • You can adjust the level of spiciness by adding more or fewer Thai bird's eye chilies.
  • For a vegetarian version, omit the dried shrimp or substitute with tofu or tempeh.

You can always customize your Som Tum by adding other ingredients like shredded carrots, cucumber slices, or fresh herbs like cilantro and mint.

Enjoy your homemade Som Tum Thai salad!

 Recipe Card
Cuisine: Thai, Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 0 minutes, Total Time: 15minutes, Course: Salad

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