Papaya Salad or Som Tum in Thai, is by far my favourite staple while I am here in Thailand. It is on every street corner being made in food carts, it is also super cheap & super delicious. I always tell the girls making it only one chilli, otherwise it is too spicy for me to enjoy.
I have always wanted to know if it would be possible for me to make it at home. Yes it is! I discovered how easy it is to make when I attended Thai cooking school in Chiang Mai. You do need this special little tool to grate the carrot & papaya but apart from that you should be able to easily get everything else you need. If you can’t get your hands on a green papaya then you could use a number of replacements such as, cucumber, apple or green mango.
This is a picture of the tool that is used to grate the papaya. I have bought one while I am here so I can take it home to recreate this recipe.
1-3 small chillies – depending on how spicy you like it
5 long beans
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon dried shrimp (omit if you do not like it)
1 shredded carrot
1 bowl of shredded papaya
1 tsp palm sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon of lime juice
In a large bowl or a large wooden mortar if you have one, place the chillies, cut up long beans, garlic cloves & palm sugar together. Pound them until they start to break up. If you have a small mortar you could do the first part of this recipe in the small mortar & then put it into a bowl once your garlic & chilli is crushed.
Add the shredded papaya & carrot to the bowl & mix.
Add the tomato, peanuts & dried shrimp. Mix & pound a little more.
Squeeze in the lime juice & throw in the entire lime for flavour.
Throw in the fish sauce. Literally that is how they make it, a squeeze here, a pound there!
It will start looking lovely & moist. You will be able to smell it’s amazing flavours.
That is me at the cooking school making papaya salad. See how I am using the pestle & the spoon in a mixing pounding motion. It is ready to plate up!
Dadaa! Authentic Thai papaya salad ready to eat!