Green Papaya Salad

Green Papaya Salad

(Som-Tam)

Somtam-recipeAhh Som Tam! Or “Papaya Salad” or more accurately “Green Papaya Salad”

We have seen this made badly in so many recipes and videos it makes Khwanjai’s blood boil.

This is probably the definitive Thai salad, trust me when I tell you Khwanjai is expert at making this refreshing and spicy salad right every time.

A great salad if you are on a diet and vegetarian too, depending on your views on fish derivatives, above all a veritable taste explosion

I love this stuff!!

We eat this almost every day; it’s at its best when made properly using the right ingredients and prepared in the right order. We ate the one shown in this video and it was the perfect balance of texture and flavours, spicy, sour, sweet, salty and delicate. If you follow this to the letter you will enjoy a great Som Tam and experience all those flavours at once in a lively and refreshing taste explosion

Khwanjai’s brothers wanted some and we’d only made enough for two, we let them have a taste though, so they made their own, it was abysmal by comparison, Khwanjai said so and we laughed, they didn’t!!

How to Make Green Papaya Salad

Ingredients:(Salad for 2)somtam-preparation
1 Small Unripe Green Papaya
It’s all in now, nearly done
2 Long Beans (or green/runner beans etc)
3 Thai Chillies
2 Cloves Garlic (largish)
3 Small Tomatoes
1 Fresh Lime
1 tbs Palm Sugar (Demerara 2nd choice)
1 1/2 tbs Fish Sauce
2 tbs Toasted Peanuts
2 tbs Dried Shrimps or Small Prawns

Preparation:
Toast you peanuts, dry, brown skinned, unsalted peanuts into a wok and heat, keep agitating and stirring until they start to go brown and spotty. Leave to cool and then rub off the skins
Peel papaya and rinse off well in clean water before chopping and slicing, important.
See video for how to chop and slice. You’ll need a good large hand full when shredded. (you won’t use it all but it will freeze once sliced and bagged)
Cut long beans about 1″ lengths
You will need a pestle and mortar, it’s the only way or, you can use a sturdy pyrex bowl or jug and a rolling pin as alternative
Using a blender is out of the question!! It’s about texture as much as taste.

Making the Salad:
First: Take the Thai chillies and garlic put in the mortar together and pound about 20-25 times, the garlic will turn pink and chillies will separate from skin.
Cut into thirds and add the tomatoes, juice of 1/2 the lime
Then add the fish sauce, palm sugar, dried shrimps and next only 1 tbs of toasted peanuts (save half of the peanuts for the end)
Pound and mix everything together using a large spoon or spatula for turning as you pound, the idea is to release all the juices and mix them up, it takes less than a minute
Last: Add the chopped papaya and long beans and using the same method, pound and mix about 15 times so papaya takes on the juices taste test for flavour (adjust to your liking)
Remove and serve in a dish and top off with the remaining peanuts

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with prawn crackers is our favourite, a glass of iced water or if you prefer, a cold beer. If you’re really hungry try it as a side salad with our own Holy Basil Pork or Barbecue Pork Ribs and Garlic you’ll love it

Khwanjai’s Top Tips:

It’s an appetiser, but paradoxically it suppresses your appetite too. We often have it as a light lunch and rarely need to eat again until about 8.30pm so in our eyes a good diet food

You can vary the spicy-ness by using more or less chillies, but beware: If you add more chilli – go easy with it, or that’s all you’ll taste. If you use less chilli it will seem very sour, so you can counteract this with sweet, the trick is to get the balance right, it’s quite flexible so try.

You can chuck in the lime peel as well if you like it a bit more bitter/zesty, we don’t, but we often buy it that way

Print off the recipe! It’s a good idea to have it handy to make your own notes as you watch the video; Khwanjai always does this every time she tries something new
It’s one of our early videos, the sound is a bit quiet, and we were terrible, but all the information is there and the Som Tam is fantastic.  Please feel free to leave a review…

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