Som tum thai, or thai green papay salad has got to be one of Thailand’s food staples. It is a perfect example of the four flavors in Thai cooking; sweet, sour, spicy and salty. It was one of the first dishes I learned to cook when I took my Thai cooking lessons in Bangkok. The dish was so easy I figured I would make it everyday but then when I realized I could buy it from the local dalaat or shopping mall for 30-50 baht (1-1.50 USD) I figured why make it when I could buy it? Now, that my Thailand advendure has come to a close I am so happy I know how to make it.
Here, in California there is definitely not a shortage of Thai restuarants, however, I have yet to find a Thai restaurant who can make som tum – same same. I find they make it more sweet here and definitely not spicy- I have to have the HEAT!
I made some for dinner the other night, and like most of us facebookers and instagramers, I posted a picture and got a request for my recipe. So, for you my Irish cousin who lives in Japan, this first post on my new blog is for you!
What you will need:
3-5 cups of shredded green papaya, 1 shredded large carrot, 5 cloves small garlic or 2-3 large cloves, 1-5 thai chilies (5 chilies are known as level 5 Thai spice), 1/2 c 1 inch piece of chinese long beans, 1/2 c tomatos cut in chunks, 3 tbsp fish sauce, 3 tbsp tamarind paste, 3 tbsp fresh lime juice and 1 tbsp cane sugar (or granulated).
The tools you will need:
A clay mortar and pestle. The Thai’s use this kind only for salads, when making curry pastes or other pastes, stone mortars are used. A vegetable peeler, a peeler to shredd the papaya and carrot (if you cannot find one of these you can use a grater), a good knife and large spoon to help toss the salad.
In the mortar add the garlic and chilies and pound into a paste. Add the chinese long beans and tomatoes and continue to pound to bring out the juices in the tomatoes and the beans. You are just brusing these, as you don’t want them in a mush. Add fish sauce, tamarind, lime juice and sugar and mix with the ingredients in the mortar. Taste dressing and add flavors to taste. Add shredded papaya and carrot and toss in dressing. Finally, add dried shrimp and peanuts and give one final toss. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy!
** If you don’t have a mortar and pestle you can use a food processer to make the dressing (minus the beans and tomatos) or just finely chop chilies and garlic and mix in a bowl.
Traditionally, papaya salad is served with Gai Yang (bbq chicken) and khaow neow (sticky rice). Enjoy!