Thai Green Papaya Salad Recipe
Green papaya salad recipe is the most popular salad in Thailand. It is high in flavor but very low in fat and calories. Known as ‘som tam’ in Thailand, this dish is crunchy and aromatic, and you can serve it as an appetizer or side dish, or even as the main dish along with a bowl of sticky rice. Add cooked crabmeat or shrimp if you like, or even a handful of cashews, to make it more substantial. This dish is almost always enjoyed with coconut rice or sticky rice on the side.
You will need a very green papaya for this recipe, and you can use either one Caribbean papaya or a pair of Hawaiian ones. It is probably better to purchase the fruit from an Asian store, because then you can will not have to guess whether you are buying a green papaya or simply one which is in the middle of ripening. Asian stores label their papaya as being green ones, and sometimes you can see one sliced up to check the whole inside is green, apart from the seeds which are white.
This papaya salad recipe is really unusual if you are not used to Thai salads and you will adore the exotic and tropical flavors in it. This is lovely during the summertime when you want to eat lighter meals than usual because of the heat, and this papaya salad is also very simple to prepare.
- ½ green papaya
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- ½ cup cilantro
- ⅓ cup fresh basil
- ½ English cucumber, sliced into matchstick-like pieces
- 2 tomatoes, in thin wedges or strips
- 3 green onions, cut into matchstick-like pieces
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 Thai red chili or ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
- Combine all the ingredients for the dressing and check the flavor.
- It should be tangy but more sweet than sour, so the sharpness of the green papaya can be balanced out.
- Slice the papaya in half lengthwise and discard the seeds.
- Peel off the green skin, then shred or grate the fruit.
- You can either whiz it for a few seconds in the food processor to bring out the juice, or bash it with a pestle or heavy rolling pin.
- Combine the papaya with the remaining ingredients in a bowl except the peanuts.
- Pour over the dressing and taste the salad.
- If you want it sweeter, drizzle over more honey.
- If you want it saltier, sprinkle over more fish sauce.
- Toss again and divide between 4 bowls.
- Garnish with the peanuts.
This vibrantly-colored som tam recipe boasts an incredible flavor. Feel free to alter the ingredients, adding crab or shrimp if you fancy, or even some tofu or cashews. You can also swap the fish sauce for soy sauce or add some cilantro and basil leaves on top as an extra garnish. This makes a special lunch or supper, or you can wow your dinner guests by serving this as an appetizer at your next dinner party. This papaya salad recipe makes four generous portions, although you could get six to eight appetizer-size portions out of it instead.
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