By: Emma Kwee
Ahhh… time for a refreshing Thai style papaya salad. Som Tam as it is called in Thailand, is great as a side dish or even as a crunchy healthy lunch. The typical well balanced Thai flavor that incorporates sweet, sour, spicy and salty tones hits every taste bud, spoon after spoon.
You need to get your hands on a green (unripe) papaya instead of a ripe one (the fruit should be firm and an even shade of green). Outside of Asia, the oriental ‘Kwik-E-Mart’ is your best bet as general supermarkets rarely carry green papaya.
Other essentials are a grater and a mortar and pestle, because we have some pounding to do before serving up our papaya salad!
Papaya Salad Recipe
Ingredients (for 4 portions):
3 cups shredded fresh green papaya (this amounts to probably about half a papaya)
3 roma tomatoes, or about 10 cherry tomatoes
a handful of fresh string beans cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons dried shrimp (available in small bags in most Asian stores)
4 small Thai chilies
3-4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons palm sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
a handful of crushed peanuts
How to Make Papaya Salad
- Peel and grate the papaya (beware, there’s seeds inside that we don’t need;-). Sprinkle the shredded papaya with some salt, then rinse and drain. Set aside.
- Chop the chilies and garlic and pound these in a mortar until a paste.
- Chop the string beans in 1 inch pieces. You can blanch them shortly or use them raw (like the Thai do). Now add the string beans to the mortar and pound them lightly.
- Slice the tomatoes thinly and pound these lightly too (make sure they don’t get too mushy).
- Add the dried shrimp, palm sugar, fish sauce and lime and pound.
- Now add the shredded papaya and lightly pound together until mixed well.
- Crush the peanuts and sprinkle them over the papaya salad.
Enjoy your wholesome Thai papaya salad!