In Thailand, green papaya salad is called som tum, with “som” meaning “sour” and “tum” referring to the pounding sound of the large pestle used to crush ingredients. It is eaten by itself as a snack, or with marinated grilled beef and chicken. In the middle of a hot afternoon, green papaya salad wakes you up with the sour and the spicy. In Laos and Thailand, there is always a vendor selling green papaya salad. The most important flavor for Lao green papaya salad is the heat from chilies. Everything else is there to balance it out. Peanuts in green papaya salad are Thai, not authentic Lao, which the major difference.
My Private Note
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- 1 large garlic cloves or 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dry-roasted salted peanuts, more for garnish
- 2 fresh bird chilies or 2 serrano chilies, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon raw sugar or 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried shrimp (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 -2 tablespoon fish sauce, to taste (nam pla)
- 2 plum tomatoes (coarsely chopped) or 1 large round tomatoes (coarsely chopped) or 8 grape tomatoes (coarsely chopped)
- 1/2 lb long beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths (optional)
- 1 papaya, small to medium, green and unripe (see Note)
- lettuce, for serving (optional)
- 1In a blender or mortar, blend or pound garlic, salt, peanuts, chilies, sugar and shrimp (if using) into a paste. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in lime juice and fish sauce. Use a spoon (or the mortar) to lightly crush tomatoes and beans (if using), then add to bowl and mix lightly.
- 2Peel and coarsely grate or shred papaya, discarding seeds and inner membrane. There should be 4 to 6 cups.
- 3Add papaya to bowl and lightly but thoroughly toss together. Taste for seasoning. Mound in a bowl (if desired, line bowl with lettuce leaves beforehand). Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.
- 4Note: If green papaya is unavailable, use an equivalent amount of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots).
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Nutritional Facts for Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)
Serving Size: 1 (215 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 4
- Amount Per Serving
- % Daily Value
- Calories 125.6
- Calories from Fat 21
- Total Fat 2.3 g
- Saturated Fat 0.4 g
- Cholesterol 0.0 mg
- Sodium 545.9 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 26.8 g
- Dietary Fiber 4.3 g
- Sugars 18.2 g
- Protein 2.7 g