For anyone who has experienced Thai food, whether it be in the Land of Smiles or at your local Thai eatery, you have probably been exposed to the popular dish of Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum). Green papaya salad is popular as a snack or along BBQ chicken and sticky rice (gai yang and khao neow).
It was about 8 months after we first moved to Thailand that we; me, the Husband, and my brother, went to the lovely Northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai. It was there where we sampled the famous khao soi (a delicious yellow curry with soft and fried egg noodles, pickled mustard greens, shallots and lime) and it was there, in Chiang Mai, that I had som tum in its fried form. I wasn’t sure what to think about fried green papaya salad when I saw it on the menu but I thought I would give it a whirl and so glad that I did.
It wasn’t until today when I was cruising the Web for all things Thai when I came across a blog that so happily reminded me of the fried papaya dish that has such happy memories attached to it. So, I decided to make it and this is how I did it.
What you will need:
Shredded papaya, about 2-3 cups
2-5 Thai chilies
2-5 cloves of garlic
1 T tamarind concentrate
1 T fish sauce
1 T palm sugar (or white granulated sugar)
1 T fresh squeezed lime juice
6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
Batter for papaya **
Oil for frying
What you will do:
1. With a mortar and pestle, muddle the Thai chilies and garlic. Add tomatoes, bruising them to release juices. Add fish sauce, tamarind, palm sugar and lime juice and mix (tip: use pestle to muddle and a spoon to toss the dressing.
2. Heat oil on medium/high heat (Oil is ready when it reaches 350 degrees or test a piece of papaya and if it bubbles rapidly, it is ready) Meanwhile, dredge shredded papaya in batter. When oil is to temp, squeeze excess batter from papaya and “sprinkle” papaya into oil and fry until golden brown.
3. When papaya is golden brown, drain on kitchen towel and transfer to serving dish. Drizzle dressing and tomatoes on fried papaya and serve.
** For batter: 1/2 c flour, 1/4 c cornstarch, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 c water.
I have not seen fried green papaya salad on any of the menus at our local Thai restaurants but that’s okay because it is really easy to make.
Give it a try.
Cheers and happy eating!