Make Ahead

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

July 28, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 2 pounds green papaya, peeled, seeded and shredded
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 10 small, Thai chilis (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans, ends snipped off and cut in 1 inch lengths
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  1. Combine shredded green papaya and carrot in a medium sized mixing bowl (you can shred with a hand grater or with a food processor).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Mound the salad on a serving platter and surround with the tomato and lime wedges to serve. Scatter reserved peanuts on top.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • BlueKaleRoad
  • lbgirl
  • Sagegreen
  • James Swagky
    James Swagky
I am a passionate home cook and love gathering my family and friends around the table.

10 Reviews

James S. June 2, 2014
Is there a mistake in this recipe? 10 Thai Chilis!? Am I reading that correctly? Thai chilis are VERY hot according to a Scoville scale. I just imagine it being overpowering. Like eating a salad made of fire. haha.
BlueKaleRoad June 3, 2014
Hi James, 10 small Thai chiles is correct in the recipe, but you can definitely adjust it to your tastes. It's a very spicy salad but quite flavorful.
James S. June 4, 2014
I made this recipe and followed everything but the Thai chilis. I used one Serrano chili instead. I'm not ready for the heat! haha. This was a very good recipe! Nice and refreshing. It might have been too much garlic though. I think that's my fault since I chose pretty big garlic pieces. Garlic is mighty tasty though. Thanks for sharing!
BlueKaleRoad June 5, 2014
My pleasure. I"m so happy you made the salad and enjoyed it! Great idea to use a Serrano pepper. And it's true - garlic cloves can be all sizes. :)
BlueKaleRoad July 29, 2011
Woops! I just noticed that I wrote 1/2 cup of green beans when it should be 1/2 pound...if you make this salad please increase the green beans. Sorry for the error!
BlueKaleRoad July 29, 2011
Thank you for correcting, food52!
lbgirl July 29, 2011
I love Som Tam! I'm looking forward to trying your version!
BlueKaleRoad July 29, 2011
Isn't Som Tam the best? Be sure to have a chilled glass of Singha with it. I hope you enjoy it! :)
Sagegreen July 29, 2011
What a great salad suggestion!
BlueKaleRoad July 29, 2011
Thank you, Sagegreen!!