Som Tam Green Papaya Salad Recipe from Thailand

Thai som tam green papaya salad

How to Make Thai Green Papaya Salad / Som Tam

Spicy Green Papaya Salad is native to the northeast of Thailand, and is equally found in Laos and Vietnam. Som Tam is a dish so evocative of Thailand, yet every Thai will have his or her own preferred vendor or method to make the perfect spicy salad. It is the perfect accompaniment for barbecued chicken.

The dish itself has a whole range of variations and is usually ordered to taste. Varieties include those made with dried shrimp and peanuts, fermented paddy crab, fermented fish, shrimp paste and more. Most overseas visitors will opt for the central "Thai" variety, using dried shrimp and peanuts rather than any fermented ingredient, more sugar, and less fresh chili than used locally. Above all, and "som tum" should be crunchy, fresh, juicy and above all, spicy!

A pestle and mortar is the instrument of choice for concocting this oh-so-Thai dish. It blends the ingredients easily, retains the juices, does not bruise or over-chop the ingredients...and most importantly makes the familiar "pok pok" sound that announces a delicious meal!

Som Tam Thai - Ingredients

2 cups shredded green papaya
5 halved cherry tomatoes
2 or more bird eye chilies
1 tbs dried shrimp
1 1/2 tbs fish sauce
2 cloves garlic
6 raw green beans, cut into 2 inch segments
Juice from a lime, to taste
1 tbs palm sugar
2 tbs lightly crushed, unsalted, toasted peanuts


  • Pound the garlic in the mortar.
  • Add the green beans, chilies and halved cherry tomatoes. Pound a few times, but do not overdo: you just want to release a little juice.
  • Add the shredded papaya, dried shrimp, peanuts, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. Pound a couple of times, stir together, then adjust to taste, adding more lime juice, fish sauce, sugar or chili to get the dish singing to your tune.
    Plate, then dip in!


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