Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad)

By • June 28, 2011 7 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a summer favorite when green papaya and long green beans are in season. It is usually topped with grilled shrimp. It tastes 'cooked', but the cooking is actually bruising the vegetables to soak in the salty, sweet, sour dressing.edamame2003

Serves 4

Salad 'dressing'

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar (or regular sugar)
  • 3 crushed Thai bird peppers (optional or remove seeds to adjust)

The 'Salad'

  • 2 cups shredded green papaya
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup long green beans, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/8 cup roasted peanuts, chopped for garnish(optional)
  • cilantro leaves for garnish
  1. In a mortar, smash the garlic into a paste.
  2. Add the chili peppers and smash lightly.
  3. Move to a separate bowl and add the remaining 'dressing' ingredients. Adjust to your taste.
  4. In the mortar add the 'salad' ingredients to fill up to half the mortar. Bruise the vegetables using the pestle.
  5. Add some of the dressing and lightly pound the dressing into the vegetables.
  6. Continue until all the salad and dressing is mixed.
  7. garnish with peanuts and cilantro

Tags: green papaya, Summer

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Comments (7) Questions (0)


almost 4 years ago Sagegreen

If I can find a green papaya and that blue kiwi shredder, I would love to make this. Sounds wonderful!


about 4 years ago gingerroot

One of my absolute favorite salads! I have an enormous (really, I wish I could send you a pic of it) green papaya from my CSA that has been sitting on my counter waiting patiently... (okay, it's so big I've been kind of intimidated by it) now it is destined for dinner with your recipe!


about 4 years ago edamame2003

gingerroot--please try to use the cheapy KIWI shredder (its a little blue peeler looking thing, if you don't have). i originally tried to make this using a mandoline and it bruised and the pieces were too thick. you can also stir fry the papaya (quickly) in pad thai sauce for another dish. can't wait to hear how it turns out!


almost 4 years ago gingerroot

Thanks so much for the tool tip! Did not have a julienne peeler, picked one up and it did the trick. This is a FANTASTIC recipe!! We added some grilled chicken and made a meal of it, it is so good. So simple, yet so deliciously complex. I really think the bruising makes all the difference. Thank you for a wonderful recipe that I will make again and again! (I will have to take your idea about stir frying the papaya in pad thai sauce because I still have half of my enormous papaya, lol).


about 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Wow, this sounds yummy! Is green papaya just an unripe papaya? Or is it something else?


about 4 years ago edamame2003

hi mrslarkin--hmmm. i actually don't know for sure. maybe they are picked unripe. they're totally green on the outside and almost look like acorn squash and a cucumber color on the inside.


almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Hi edamame2003, i found green papaya! but the produce guy didn't let me buy it because he thought it wasn't ripe enough. They were mostly all green. Should i buy it all green?? Do you let it ripen before shredding?? And lastly, what do you do with the rest of the green papaya?? the ones I saw are ginormous! (+ 6 lbs.)