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Thai papaya salad recipe

Thai papaya salad recipe

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  • Salad

Make your very own crisp and crunchy Thai papaya salad with this authentic recipe. Find under-ripe green papaya, as well as other ingredients, at your local Asian market.

4 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 4 tablespoons dried shrimp
  • 3 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind juice (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 Thai red chilli (bird's eye chilli), or to taste
  • 75g long beans, cut into 3cm sections
  • 500g shredded green papaya
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
  • more lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar to taste

MethodPrep:30min ›Ready in:30min

  1. Soak the dried shrimp in water till softened. Drain, then crush lightly with a fork or mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  2. Combine the palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind juice (if using) in a small pot. Bring to the boil, stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool, then add lime juice.
  3. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic cloves with a pinch of salt. Add the chilli. (Barely crush, if serving to spice-sensitive people, crush more, if a spicier salad is wanted.)
  4. Place long beans in a large mixing bowl with the garlic mixture. Pound lightly to break the bean pods open. Add papaya, tomatoes, soaked shrimp and dressing mixture. Pound lightly but firmly to bring all the ingredients together.
  5. Adjust seasoning to make the salad spicy, salty, sour and sweet, in that order. Serve immediately.


Long beans, also called yard-long beans, are available at Asian or Chinese markets. In a pinch you could use fresh haricots verts or omit them all together. If you don't have palm sugar, in a pinch you could use soft brown sugar.

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▷ Som Tam papaya salad is a spicy, refreshing papaya salad made with smashed papayas, Thai tomatoes and snake beans.
Originally from Laos, Som Tam is now the most popular salad in Isaan and all over Thailand. In Thailand, papaya salad is eaten practically every day.

Try it out: Thai salad is a real taste experience. Here is my original Som Tam recipe.

In Thailand, there are two “much-loved” Som Tam variations:

1. Som Tam Thai | ส้มตำไทย: Papaya salad with dried prawns and peanuts.
2. Som Tam Phooh | ส้มตำปู: Papaya salad with salted small prawns.

The basic ingredients of Som Tam are always the same, refined into different salad variations. Som Tam is eaten with glutinous rice or rice noodles and a variety of raw vegetable accompaniments.

Other Som Tam spellings include som tum, som dtam, som dtum or papaya pok pok.


The freshest way is to buy a green papaya at the Asian market, peel it and grate the papaya fruit into fine strips with a vegetable slicer. If you have a papaya slicer, use it of course. Before grating, you should hollow out the papaya. The white seeds inside are not used.

Papaya salad recipe for 2 people.

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 0 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Papaya salad Thai ingredients

for a delicious Papaya Salad

  • 200g green raw papaya strands. Always choose a papaya who is really firm. Press the Papaya with your thumb – she should not yield easily.
  • 5x Cherry tomatoes or 2 small tomatoes
  • 4x Thai chili peppers
  • 1x tbsp dried shrimp
  • 2x tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 1x medium clove garlic, peeled
  • 50g / 2-3 yardlong green bean / snake beans
  • 1x tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1x tbsp palm sugar
  • 2x tbsp roasted peanuts (unsweetened)

INFO: tsp=teaspoon, tbsp= tablespoon.

You can find green papaya in Asian markets and stores. First, You have to peel the papaya. Then you have to shred the papaya with a julienne shredder tool or a mandolin slicer or a papaya shredder.

Don’t use the white immature seeds inside the papaya.

Cooking Equipment:
Peeler and Julienne Shredder Tool or a Kiwi Pro Slice Peeler
Clay mortar with wooden pestle

Som Tam preparation:

1. First put a clove of garlic and the Thai chillies in a mortar and pestle. The amount of chilli can be chosen according to the desired degree of heat.

2. Then add the chopped snake beans and half of the roasted peanuts and lightly crush with the wooden pestle – do not crush.

3. Add the halved cherry tomatoes or regular tomatoes and crush until the tomato juice comes out.

4. Then add the dried prawns and crush into larger pieces with the wooden pestle.

5. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. Now lightly crush the vegetable mixture with the wooden pestle and mix gently with the spoon. 6.

6. Then add the papaya shreds to the mortar and mix again gently with the wooden pestle and the spoon.

Add the fish sauce, palm sugar or lime juice and season to taste. Then add the remaining peanuts. Done.

Som Tam preparation in pictures

1. Peel the green papaya and hollow out the inside. Clean with water and then cut into long strips with a papaya slicer or vegetable slicer.

2. Cut the snake beans into pieces about 2.5 cm small. Halve cherry tomatoes or cut normal tomatoes into small pieces.

3. Put the garlic cloves and chillies in a mortar and pestle with a wooden pestle. Add half of the roasted peanuts and crush in the same way.

4. Add the tomatoes and squeeze out the juice. Do not totally crush the tomatoes. Add fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar.

5. Add the papaya strips and lightly crush with a wooden pestle and mix gently with a long spoon.

6. Season again with fish sauce, palm sugar or lime juice to taste. Then add the second half of the peanuts. Done.

7. Portion the papaya salad onto the plates and sprinkle the salad with the roasted peanuts. Enjoy your meal.

Now the salad can be served. “Som Tam Thai” should always be served with a lot of the resulting salad dressing – this is a Thai tradition. To serve, the papaya salad is transferred from the mortar to a bowl.
Serve with sticky rice, rice noodles, grilled chicken and raw vegetables such as lettuce leaves, pak choi, snake beans and Thai basil.

The raw vegetable garnish takes some of the edge off the papaya salad. Glutinous rice and chicken forms the base for the stomach to avoid stomach problems from the Thai chilli spiciness.

“Som Tam” preparation – tips:

You can vary the standard Som Tam recipe to suit your own taste. Omit what you don’t like and add what you like best.

  • If you don’t have palm sugar, you can also use normal sugar.
  • If you don’t have papaya, you can also use cucumbers, turnips, carrots or kohlrabi.
  • You can also omit the peanuts if you like.
  • Instead of lime, you can also use lemon.

Vegan/ Vegetarian:
For a vegetarian Som Tam version, simply omit the prawns and use soybean oil or salt instead of fish sauce. Green papaya is very healthy and contains many papaya enzymes.

By the way
… do you know the spicy seafood salad Yum Ruam Mit Talay?
You absolutely have to try it …

You can also try this delicious salad at any Thai restaurant near you …

How do you shred green papaya for salad

Wash the papaya and peel the skin properly before slicing in half lengthwise. Once cut open, thoroughly clean out or scrape all the white seeds and pith from the center and discard them. Then, you can use a Mandoline slicer or a large-size cheese shredder and shred the papaya in a large container.

However, in Thailand, they normally shred the green papaya using a knife, hence creating long cuts in the flesh. Then slicing off the top layer and do the same process until all of the papaya is being shredded.

Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam ส้มตำ)

This is exciting news. Today marks Vegan Miam’s 2nd blogiversary. A few years ago I initially started a travel blog to share our experiences as vegan travelers, but quickly found that our experiences abroad motivated us to craft dishes inspired by our travels. This journey had transformed our blog into a vegan food and travel blog and my partner Doni later joined the blog.

To celebrate our 2nd blogiversary, we are hosting a small worldwide giveaway. We are personally giving away a brand new versatile kitchen tool, Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler with Stainless Steel Handle and a handwritten postcard from our upcoming trip to northern Italy. This is one of our favorite kitchen tools, we use it for everything from making raw ‘noodles’, to beautifully constructed salads and garnishes, and of course the “Thai Green Papaya Salad” (Som Tam ส้มตำ) recipe below.

In addition to our blogiversary, Doni and I are leaving for Italy soon and we’ll be taking some time off so we can focus on some additional projects. While I’m away, you can always catch up with me on Instagram here. I might not be blogging on a regular basis, but I will be featuring a medley of amazing guest bloggers for the remainder of the year who will be sharing just a few of their absolutely delicious recipes or vegan discoveries. So check back regularly to see who we have next on our weekly guest blogger spot. After we return from Italy and a short period back in Oregon, we’ll finish off the year with trips to Bangkok and Chiang Mai Thailand, Jakarta Indonesia, Auckland New Zealand, Singapore and Melbourne Australia. So we have a long and interesting road ahead for the second half of 2014!

Onto this recipe, I’ve been wanting to make this Northeastern Thai Green Papaya Salad, also known as ‘Som Tam ส้มตำ’, for so long. Knowing I will be returning to Chiang Mai soon was enough to prompt me to finally make it at home. It is a refreshing green papaya salad with tangy, sweet, sour and spicy flavors, perfect for hot summery days. As is the essence of Thai cuisine, these components each deliver strong, contrasting flavors that balance one another out and come together as one. The slightly tart flavor of the green papaya combines with the spiciness of the red chili, the saltiness of the vegan fish sauce and the sweet and sour flavors of the tamarind paste to form the foundation of this dish.

I had a fermented and spicy green papaya salad in Chiang-Mai, described as ‘Som Tam Lao‘ and it was absolutely pungent, sour and spicy. I am curious to know how they produced such pungent flavors so well. I attempted to use some stinky rejuvelac, and it wasn’t as pungent as I had expected. The recipe I will share today isn’t the fermented variety of Green Papaya salad, so this won’t have that pungent aroma and flavor.

The core ingredient is a neutral, virtually flavorless and certainly not sweet, elongated green-skinned green papaya with light green, crunchy flesh. These characteristics make Green Papaya analogous to a vegetable in Asian cuisine. When choosing green papayas for this salad, choose the unripe, firm and greenish papayas with no soft spots or blotchy areas and wrap them with a paper towel in the fridge for about two weeks. The flesh should be pale-ish green, crunchy and not sweet. Green papayas vary in shape from round to elongated. They are sometimes shredded and used in stews or salads, and they are readily available in the produce section at Latin and Asian supermarkets.

To cut green papaya into shreds, peel the papaya skin using a vegetable peeler, halve the papaya lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds. Use a julienne peeler to julienne them into matchsticks. Or use a mandolin, blades set to ⅛”, to produce papaya slices and then proceed to matchstick with a knife. Make sure the shreds are not too fine or thick otherwise they get mushy or won’t absorb the flavors of the sauce.

There is a traditional method to cut the papaya into shreds (in a very traditional Thai way), but it can be a bit dangerous. For the traditional method of slicing green papaya you will just need one large sharp knife (Chef’s knife, Santoku, Vegetable Cleaver all work) and a sure hand.

Gripping the peeled papaya in one hand and your sharp knife in the other hand, make rapid vertical chopping slices into the papaya using your knife. Then take the blade of your knife, placing it perpendicular to existing scored slices in the papaya and run it just beneath the existing slices, removing shreds from the papaya with each swipe. If your papaya or matchsticks are long, slice them down to about 2-3 inches in length. There’s a very helpful video demonstration here.

Top row, from left: Vegan Fish Sauce, Tamarind Concentrate and Coconut Sugar Mixture Green Papaya Shreds, Green Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Thai Chili Peppers Shredded Carrots, Lime Juice, Crushed Roasted Peanuts, and Fresh Garlic

Another unique ingredient in this recipe is tamarind. Here in the U.S. it can be very difficult to find fresh tamarind. Tamarind is best described as having a sweet and sour taste. The brown tamarind pods contain a gummy reddish-brown pulp that encases hard seeds. If you do find tamarind pulp, or paste that contains seeds, you will want to discard them because they are hard and generally inedible.

Tamarind is a pretty useful and frequently used ingredient in Thai cooking, providing a fruity tartness to soups, salad, sauces, stir fries and dressings. The tamarind I used in my recipe was the only one available in my area, a tamarind concentrate by LAXMI that included additional sweeteners. Tamarind pastes and concentrates can typically be found in Latin and Asian markets. If using tamarind paste, add additional sugar (palm or coconut sugar preferably) to reach desired sweetness. You can also try and make your own tamarind paste following the instructions here.

This recipe involves the use of a mortar & pestle, necessary for crushing some of the ingredients. I used an average-sized marble mortar & pestle to make my papaya salad and as a result I had to make my salad in batches. In Thailand they use a clay mortar with a wooden pestle, and these are available in various sizes including some that are downright massive and stand multiple feet tall. If you don’t have a mortar & pestle, place the ingredients in a large plastic bag (make sure there’s a cutting board or hard protective layer on top of your counter or table) and pound the contents with a rolling pin or the bottom of a small heavy pan.


Without a doubt, Green Papaya Salad can be considered the Thai national dish. Everybody eats it almost every day, it is more than a meal, it is an entire social experience, a group of Thai folks (usually women), will share the preparation of a large dish of Green Papaya Salad, and then sit down and eat it together, often accompanied by a basket full of Kanom Jeen (a kind of Thai equivalent to spaghetti), and various fresh vegetables such as string beans and cucumber.

No discussion of Green Papaya Salad would be complete without also including Pla Ra (rotten fish sauce). Green Papaya Salad has a rather distinct taste and this is almost entirely fuelled by the inclusion of Pla Ra. Pla Ra is made quite simply, a quantity of fish is taken, and put into a plastic bag, which is then kept un-refrigerated and left to rot. The resulting liquid in the bottom of the bag, is used as a flavouring for some dishes, including Green Papaya Salad.

There is a variation of Green Papaya Salad, named Som Tum Thai, which does not include any Pla Ra, and this is often preferred by tourists visiting Thailand, as Pla Ra is something of an acquired taste.

There are also some regional differences to Green Papaya Salad. For example, in Isan (North East Thailand) which is entirely land locked, the crab used as part of the recipe will be some form of small river or land crab, these will be smashed using a mortar and pestle before they are added to the salad. In Southern Thailand, which is much closer to the sea (most areas are less than 50km from the coastline if not on it), then sea crab is used. Instead of being crushed before adding to the Green Papaya Salad, it is simple chopped into large pieces and thrown in for people to extract the meat and eat it as part of the salad.

Green Papaya Salad is one of the few dishes that Thai people will eat without rice. Usually it is eaten as a light lunch, or a social snack. It is the perfect dish to be eaten in the Western World in the same way. Low in calories and fat, high in nutrition and incredibly delicious. Prepare with fewer chillies if you want an easy to eat, tasty alternative to a traditional salad.

Thai Green Papaya Salad with Salted Field Crab (Som Tum Pla Ra)

Here&rsquos a classic northern Thai salad that is fairly well known. But what you may not know is that there are different versions, not just one. One of the most unusual &ndash and also my favorite &ndash is this one, though it packs a flavor punch which might be an acquired taste for some. You should definitely try it, however.

In Thailand when you order som tum from a street or market stall, all the ingredients are muddled fresh right in front of you, in a traditional clay mortar using a wooden pestle. They&rsquore gently bruised, rather than pounded, and the sound this makes is distinctive and rather like drumming. The process is interactive too &ndash the idea is, you tell them how many chilies you want (two? five? ten?) and then taste as they mix your som tum, letting them know if you want it more sour, spicy or fish-saucy. They&rsquoll adjust the flavor balance to your individual preference and you should feel free to do that with this recipe as well.

Here, you&rsquove got the standard green papaya, snake beans, and cherry tomatoes but also some salted crab and acacia seeds together with a pungent dressing based on fermented anchovy sauce (which is a bit like shrimp paste, only stronger). The crabs are small crabs from rice paddy fields and they&rsquore fermented whole in salted water. In Thailand, cooks use the salty preserving brine as a seasoning sauce in their cooking, so nothing gets wasted.

Papaya Salad Ingredients

The recipe makes 2 full servings.

2 cups of shredded green papaya

½ cup of green bean (cut into 1 inch pieces)

4 cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)

2 teaspoon of dried shrimp

2 tablespoon of fish sauce

2 tablespoon of roasted peanut

2 fresh chilies (You can adjust your heat!)

Som Tam Directions

  • Place the garlic and chilies in the mortar and smash the ingredients with the pestle until crushed.
  • Put in the green beans and tomatoes, then mash the mixture together.
  • Season the salad with lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar.
  • Add the shredded papaya and shredded carrot, and combine with the mixture.
  • Put in the dried shrimp, and peanuts and mix the everthing together.
  • Remove from the mortar and serve cold with sticky rice.

Som Tam Conclusion

You can also prepare this Thai salad without using the traditional mortar and pestle. Make the dressing first by chopping the garlic and chilies and then combine with the lime juice, palm sugar and fish sauce in a bowl. Next step, simply add the dressing to the fresh ingredients, including the dried shrimp. Congratulations! You just made delicious salad!

Papaya Thai-style salad is light and provides major nutrition. The fresh ingredients offer many vitamins and minerals. Dried shrimp provides some protein for your body. Don’t forget the sticky rice for some good carbohydrates. Are you hungry? I know I am!

Thai Raw Papaya Salad Recipe With Lemon Peanut & Honey Dressing

Thai papaya salad is a flavor-filled dish that will make a great starter for a party. It is easy to make, low in calories, and very nutritious. Also known as "som tam", has a crispy texture and combines wonderfully with the spice of green chilies, sourness of the lemon juice and the sweetness of honey.

Thai Papaya Salad Recipe With Lemon Peanut & Honey Dressing, also known as "som tam", has a crispy texture and combines wonderfully with the spice of green chilies, sourness of the lemon juice and the sweetness of honey. Green papaya salad is a flavor-filled dish that will make a great starter for a party. It is easy to make, low in calories, and very nutritious.

Serve Thai Papaya Salad Recipe (With Lemon Peanut & Honey Dressing) with Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup Recipe or Noodle Soup Recipe with Vegetables for light dinner.

A papaya is one of the fruits with the high concentration of vitamin C, potassium, lycopene, beta carotene . This tropical fruit is ranked as one of the most nutritious fruits by the Center for Science in the Public Interest because of its high content of so many vitamins and minerals.

If you like this recipe, here are more salad recipes that you will also love

Why julienne the vegetables?

Julienning the vegetables adds a crunch and texture similar to that of a pasta dish. As the salad sits and the papaya becomes more tender and wilts into much more pasta like texture as pictured in this recipe. While this isn’t necessary it is the classic way Thai Papaya salad is served in restaurants.

If you prefer not to use a julienning tool (though they are VERY inexpensive and I promise you’ll find yourself julienning everything afterwards) you can also slice very thinly then cut those thin slices into homemade julienned pieces. This will of course create thinner and thicker portions which may be a bit awkward to eat.

Thai Green Papaya Salad Recipe Instructions

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the outer skin of the papaya. If you have a julienne peeler, peel off julienned strips from all around the papaya. If not, cut the papaya in half and scrape out the seeds. Using a mandolin or sharp knife, julienne the papaya. Transfer to a bowl of ice water for 15 minutes to firm up the papaya strips and make them crunchier.

Meanwhile, chop the garlic, bird chilies, and peanuts together on a board until finely minced.

Add to a mixing bowl along with the salt, sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce. If you have a mortar and pestle, you can also pound these ingredients together to make the dressing, which is more traditional.

Crush the long bean pieces with the flat side of your knife until bruised (or with the mortar and pestle, if you have that).

Add to the bowl with the dressing, along with the tomatoes.

Drain the papaya well and add it to the salad. Toss everything together well, and garnish with more chopped peanuts. Serve!

This papaya salad goes great with these other recipes to make a full meal!

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Watch the video: Tasty shrimp salad with papaya and chili recipe