2 Jun


                                                SOM TAM – GREEN PAPAYA SALAD

Som tam which is Thailand’s most popular salad is low in calories and fat. Som tam is listed at number 46 on World’s 50 most delicious foods by CNN.

I  like papaya, its one of my fav fruit. I had it only in its  ripe and yellowish form. In India having a papaya tree in our backyard garden was common. So this fruit was cheaply available and we had it plenty. Once I told my husband, I miss having papaya…’s been nearly a year since I had one. There he came holding two dark green vegetable papayas from some Asian  market. I did not know what to do with these. I knew they will not ripen into fruit and had to be used as a vegetable.Well, you guessed right – I went and browsed the net for some green papaya recipes. Though I know it is used as a vegetable in stir fries and curries in some Indian states, I wanted to try something different. That was when I came across this awesome salad recipie-  som tam.


This is known to be one of Thailand’s famous delicacies. There are many versions to it and I read some even use fermented fresh water fish and pickled fresh water craps. Don’t worry iam not using the authentic original recipe and changed and made it to fully vegetarian. Got to say this lest anyone think this is the Thai version.

To make this, you need a mortar and a pestle.(most Indian homes have it ) Without it maybe you can  roughly grind it, but it may not taste the same without the pounding . The dish combines the four main tastes of the local cuisine: sour lime, hot chili, salty, savory soy sauce, and sweetness added by palm sugar. The ingredients are mixed and pounded in a mortar; The general Lao name tam som literally means “pounded sour”, however, the more specific Lao name tam maak hoong literally means “pounded papaya”. In Khmer, the name bok l’hong also means “pounded papaya”. In Thai, the name som tam, (a reversal of the Lao name), literally translates as “sour pounded”. However, other pounded salads in Thailand are consistent with the Lao naming convention in which the word tam (“pounded”) is listed first.


serves 4



Cut the cucumber and slice it finely.  Pound the garlic and chilies until they form a smooth paste.  Add the grated palm sugar and pound until the pieces are broken up, but not completely pulverized.   Add the peanuts and lightly pound until they are broken into tiny pieces, but not to the point where they form a thick paste.
  Add the green beans and crush them with the mortar until they’re splitting and lightly bruised. Add the moong sprouts and pound lightly. Add half the papaya strands and tomatoes and pound on them. You want the papaya strands to soften up a bit so they can drink up the seasonings more readily. You also want to crush the tomatoes so they release their juices and give their flavor and beautiful red hue to the otherwise anemic-looking papaya strands.   Add a teaspoons of soy sauce and a couple of teaspoons of lime juice to the mix.
  Taste for seasoning. Add more  lime juice, or sugar as needed.






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