Throughout our time in Thailand, there were a select few "go-to" dishes that we frequently ate and Som Tom was definitely one of them. Whether it was at the local market, the mall or anywhere else in Thailand, we always knew what we were getting and that was a fresh & healthy veggie based dish with a killer kick.
Cost & Ingredients
Total Cost: $12
Serving Size: 2 Regular Servings -or- 4 Appetizer Sized Servings
- Unripe shredded green papaya (2 cups)
- Toasted peanuts (2 tbs)
- Peeled garlic (2 cloves)
- Hot chili peppers - we used red poblano peppers (1-2 depending on desired spice level)
- Palm sugar (1/2 piece)
- Cherry tomatoes (8)
- Fresh lime juice (1/2 lime)
- Fish sauce (1 1/2 tbs)
- Green beans (1-2 tbs cut into 1" sticks)
Step 1 - Sharpen the Knives & Get Cutting
One of my favorite parts (among many) of making Som Tam is the lack of preparation and cutting needed to make this dish perfect because it is essentially all mashed together. Before we get to the fun parts, you will need to cut the chili peppers, cherry tomatoes, garlic & green beans. The green beans will be cut in 1" sticks, but everything else can be cut however you want because they'll be seriously mashed together later in the recipe.
Step 2 - Prep the Papaya
Once the veggies have been cut and are ready, peel the papayas. Then, there are two different ways you can go about getting the long, string-like pieces for the salad.
- Shred it with a shredder or mandolin slicer
- Repeatedly chop at the papaya with a knife (be careful) so that you're getting string-like pieces that are approximately 1/8" wide - this is a technique that almost every restaurant or market used to make Som Tam while in Thailand
Once the papaya is shredded into thin strips, soak it in cold water while the rest of the salad is made to ensure the strips are starch free and crunchy.
Step 3 - Melt the Palm Sugar (Optional)
If you are able to find palm sugar at your local store, melt it in a small pan on low while adding 2 tablespoons of water so that it's easier to mix in when you're combining all of the ingredients in the following steps.
Step 4 - Mash It Up
Traditionally, Som Tam is made by mashing all of the ingredients together using a mortar and pestle, but since we do not have one....we decided to get a little creative. We used a medium sized glass and the opposite end of a wooden spoon to creatively crush all of the materials. In this step, you'll combine and mash up:
Make sure to mash them up so that you can still see bits and pieces of all ingredients rather than it looking like you blended it similar to a puree.
Step 5 - Stir It Up
Once the above ingredients are sufficiently mashed, transfer the mash to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and gently mash everything so that the ingredients and flavors are combined.
Now the really fun part begins! Grab a plate, serve some Som Tam & enjoy one of our favorite Thai dishes!
Arroy Mai (Delicious)? Leave us your thoughts, tips & tricks that you used to make this meal your own. Again, thank you so much for your support, and we look forward to bringing you the next recipe on December 1st! Until then, enjoy your Thai food & coffee, and we will catch you on the flip side!
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