Recipe: Papaya Salad or Som Tam

This salad is a favorite in Thailand and often eaten in the daily diet. It is traditionally prepared in a large mortar and served with sticky rice. 

The quantities below are for one mortar and serves one. 


1 garlic clove
2-3 tbsp roasted Peanuts
3/4-1 cup Green Papaya, finely shredded
1/4 cup Carrot, finely shredded
2 Fresh Green Beans, cut into 1 inch lengths
1 teaspoon dried shrimps
1 fresh bird’s-eye red chili (1 pepper creates a medium spicy salad).
1 tablespoon coconut sugar (palm sugar)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime (juicy lime)
4 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Time for fun:

1- Use a wooden pestle and clay mortar to pound the garlic. Add the peanuts and pound roughly with the garlic. Add the papaya and carrot, then pound softly, using a spoon to scrape down the sides, turning and mixing well as you’re pounding.

2- Add the green beans and dried shrimps and keep pounding and turning to soften these ingredients. Add the chili, Palm sugar, fish sauce, then add the lime juice to the mixture. Lightly pound together for another minute.

3- Add the tomatoes and lightly pound for another minute. As the juice comes out, pound more gently so the liquid doesn’t splash. Taste and adjust the seasoning (sweet and sour with a hot taste).

4- Spoon the papaya salad and all the juices on to a serving plate garnish with extra nuts and enjoy!

Tip: If you don’t have papaya, you can replace it with shredded white cabbage, shredded zucchini, shredded Brussels or even shredded Cucumber.

Cashews can be used instead of peanuts if desired, or a combination of both, but the traditional dish is made with roasted peanuts. Feel free to leave out dried shrimp if desired.

This dish is wonderful served with grilled chicken or shrimp.

Tip: If in the San Diego area Green Papaya can be found at Ranch 99

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Welcome to Mary’s Kitchen, I was born in Coronado and have been a personal chef on the island for several years specializing in farm to table homestyle cuisine. My goal is to share with you my passion for food and travel by introducing you to recipes from around the world.