Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 0 mins

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.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In 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.
  2. Peel and coarsely grate or shred papaya, discarding seeds and inner membrane. There should be 4 to 6 cups.
  3. Add 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.
  4. Note: If green papaya is unavailable, use an equivalent amount of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots).


Most Helpful

Wow, was this hot and spicy. It was really good. Quick and easy to make. We enjoyed the heat and the lovely textures in this tasty salad. Made as written but didn`t use the dried shrimp. Thank you for sharing this lovely treat. Made for CQ3 - Thailand & Indonesia.

Baby Kato August 10, 2016

Loved this salad and will definitely make it again! The flavored of the lime and fish sauce are amazing. I couldn't find a totally green papaya, but it was still good. Thanks so much for posting, this is a total keeper!!! Made for ZWT 9

Jostlori August 25, 2013

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