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Som Tum ( Thai Green Papaya Salad)

The most famous spicy Thai salad. The dish combines the four main tastes of Lao/Thai cuisine: sour lime, hot chile, salty fish sauce, and sweetness added by palm sugar. In Laos and Thailand, it is customary that a customer ask the preparer to make the dish suited to his or her taste.


  • 100g snake beans

  • 850g green papaya

  • 250g cherry tomatoes, quartered

  • 3 small green Thai chillies (pik kii noo), chopped finely

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dried shrimp

  • ¼ cup (60ml) lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)

  • 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander

  • 2 cups (120g) finely shredded iceberg lettuce

  • 1/3 cup (45g) coarsely chopped roasted unsalted peanuts


  • 1.

    Cut the beans in 5cm pieces; cut pieces in half lengthways. Boil steam or microwave the beans until just tender. Drain, rinse under cold water; drain.

  • 2.

    Peel the papaya. Quarter lengthways, remove the seeds; grate the papaya coarsely.

  • 3.

    Place the papaya and beans in a large bowl or mortar with the tomato, chilli and shrimp.

  • 4.

    Add the combined juice, sauce, sugar, garlic and half the coriander; mix firmly with pestle or wooden spoon

  • 5.

    To combine.

  • 6.

    Place lettuce on serving plates; spoon papaya salad over the lettuce, sprinkle with nuts and remaining coriander.


For variation add seafood - prawns, crab or squid. Serve crispy pork rind (carb moo).

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