Som Tum – Green Papaya Salad


Eating those leafy salads or sprouted salads are quite boring. As the weather in Bangalore in swinging to new extremes this summer I have ended up cooking salads and cold soups for dinner these days. And talking about salad, how could I miss Som Tum or the Green Papaya Salad. It’s one of my favorite Thai dishes which I can indulge on any time of the day. Its a fresh and crisp salad, with strong contrasting flavors which balance each other and come out as a complete treat for your tummy.

While I was in US, I almost ended up eating this salad every weekend. Even the small Thai delí sold flavorful salad. I never thought of making it at home since I was under the illusion that its cumbersome and secondly because my husband would hate me for the Thai food overdose that I was torturing him with. And now when I am back to India and haven’t got a chance to visit Thai restaurants, I thought of trying it at home. And it was indeed simple. The green papaya itself is quite bland and timid in taste, but when incorporated into this salad all you will remember is its bold and spicy flavors. While the fresh vegetables add color to this salad, the dressing gives it robust flavors.

So as the weekend is here, grab all what you need to make this refreshing summer treat and enjoy the scorching heat.



INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 1/2 medium sized raw papaya, peeled and shredded
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1/2 cup snake beans, cut into 1 inch long segments (you can use regular beans also)
  • 1/2 medium sized onion, cut into thin long strips
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, cut into half (you can use regular tomatoes cut into long segments)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup thai basil leaves, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1/3 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 4 – 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 Thai bird’s eye chilies, seeded and cut into 3 – 4 segments
  • 1/2 tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • 1 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tsp soya sauce
  • 3 tbsp palm sugar (you can use normal sugar also)
  • salt, to taste


  • Mix raw shredded papaya, carrot, snake beans and onion in a bowl and keep aside
  • Using a mortar and pestle, pound garlic cloves, bird’s eye chilies and half of the peanuts until are roughly crushed.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together tamarind concentrate with a little bit of water, lemon, soya sauce, palm sugar, salt and keep aside. This is the salad dressing.
  • 20 – 25 minutes before serving the salad, take a big bowl and fill it half with ice and ice water. Now add the mixed veggies along with the cherry tomatoes. Keep it covered. This will add the crunch to the salad.
  • When you are ready to serve, drain out the ice and ice water. Take the vegetables add the pounded garlic mixture, thai basil and cilantro leaves and toss well. Lastly add the dressing for the salad and mix it well.
  • Sprinkle the salad with the remaining peanuts, little bit of cilantro leaves, thai basil leaves and serve immediately.

som tum




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