About seven years ago, we hosted an exchange student from Thailand named Pop for a year. In addition to being a sweet, lovely girl, she is an outstanding cook. Her parents own a restaurant and she spoiled us well with all she learned from them. Now, it's rather hard for us to eat out in Thai restaurants due to the memory of Pop's incredible home cooking. Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam) is my favorite Thai salad and I've adapted it from notes Pop graciously left for me. If green papaya is unavailable, shredded carrots can be substituted. —BlueKaleRoad
green papaya, peeled, seeded and shredded
medium carrot, shredded
small, Thai chilis (or more to taste)
fresh lime juice
palm or brown sugar
fresh green beans, ends snipped off and cut in 1 inch lengths
medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
lime, cut into wedges
In This Recipe
Combine shredded green papaya and carrot in a medium sized mixing bowl (you can shred with a hand grater or with a food processor).
With a mortar and pestle, pound the chilis and garlic together until soft. Scrape into a small bowl and stir in lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and salt until well mixed. If desired, you can process in a food processor until smooth. Pour into the papaya and carrot mix and toss well.
With the mortar and pestle, gently pound the green beans until they are bruised and slightly smushed. Add to the papaya mixture. Sprinkle in about 3/4 cup of the peanuts and toss.
Mound the salad on a serving platter and surround with the tomato and lime wedges to serve. Scatter reserved peanuts on top.