Green Papaya salad has become a big deal ever since it landed on Western shores.
Also known as a Thai salad, aka som tum, green papaya salad has become one of Thailand’s most popular culinary exports. And rightly so.
The fiery salad is deeply savory and insanely sour, but once you get the hang of it, it can be acutely addictive. It is prepped from shredded unripe papaya which forms the core, with a host of other additives.
There are countless green papaya salad recipes, but we think we stumbled upon the best of the lot.
The Best Papaya Salad Recipe
The perfect som tum is quite some work, but the rewards are well worth it as are bound to find out.
To prepare, you will need the following:
- 2 tablespoon dried shrimp, rinsed
- 3 tablespoon roasted peanuts
- 2 garlic cloves
- Coarse salt (a pinch)
- 2-6 whole bird’s eye chilies (depending on how hot you want it)
- 3 yard long beans or 12 French beans, cut into 1cm lengths
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 lime sliced into wedges, with an extra 3 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 medium-sized green papaya
- 1 tablespoon tamarind water
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 3 tablespoon palm sugar
Best Papaya Salad Recipe: Method
Take a frying pan and turn on the heat (ideally medium-high).
Rinse your shrimp if you haven’t already, dry gently and then dry-fry for approximately 4 minutes. The idea is to have it achieve a degree of crispness.
Take the peanuts and toast until brown, then tip them out and chop roughly before placing aside.
Take the garlic and crush it using a pinch of course salt.
Next, add your shrimp to the mortar along with 2/3 of the peanuts and mash together into a rough paste.
Throw in the chilies and simply bruise them using the pestle (unless, of course, you want the salad extra hot, in which case you should pound the chilies).
Put the tomatoes, beans, and lime slicings into the mortar and bruise roughly. Then scoop the mixture out into a bowl – if yours is an extra-large mortar and pestle, you can leave them in.
Take your green papaya, peel and slice into thin matchsticks. Use a sharp knife to do this if you don’t have a mandoline slicer or julienne peeler. Bruise the slices in the mortar, doing so in batches if the mortar isn’t the biggest, then scoop out into the bowl.
Mix the tamarind water, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar in the mortar until the sugar dissolves. The best mixture should balance salty, sour and sweet, so if you can’t taste that, adjust as necessary.
Combine the salad ingredients and dressing, ensuring the peanut paste is evenly distributed. Sprinkle the remaining peanuts and voila – Serve.