Som Tum has is hands down my favourite Thai dish. I love the fragrant curries, the creamy soups and the tangy noodles, but this spicy green papaya salad makes my heart sing every time. The first bite takes me back to the the street food vendors of Thailand. Green papaya can be found in world food markets, but British grown carrot and cabbage work a treat at simulating the sweet crunchy flavour.
Thai Green Papaya Salad ingredients:
75g blanched peanuts, toasted and roughly chopped, reserve 2 tbsp for garnish
1 medium green papaya, about 500g (or 350g carrot and 150g cabbage, grated)
2 small garlic cloves
12 French beans, trimmed and sliced in half or 3 long Thai beans, sliced into 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces
2 green Thai chillies
2 tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp palm sugar or coconut sugar
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 200°C / Gas Mark 6.
Place the peanuts on a dry baking tray. Toast for 5-8 minutes or until turning golden and smelling fragrant. Be sure to move the nuts around the baking tray at least once while toasting. Cool and roughly chop with a knife or food processor.
Peel and grate the green papaya (or carrot and cabbage) and set aside.
Using a mortar and pestle (or a metal bowl and the end of a rolling pin) pound the garlic, green beans and chillies, until well smashed.
Add the tomatoes and pound a few times just to get the juices out.
In a separate bowl, big enough to toss the salad in, combine the lime juice, sugar and tamari.
Add the papaya (or carrots and cabbage), peanuts, and tomato mixture to the bowl. Mix well with a spoon and use the pestle to gently push down and slightly bruise the vegetables. This helps the vegetables to absorb the flavours of the salad.
Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more chilli for heat, sugar for sweet, lime for sour or salt/soy sauce for saltiness, if needed. Trying to achieve a balance of all the flavours. Garnish with the remaining peanuts.
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