We are very excited to introduce you to one of Thailand’s national dishes; Green Papaya Salad. Even if you’ve never been to Thailand, we’re sure you’ve heard of Som Tam– the most famous Asian salad.
It’s refreshing and delicious, with a perfect mix of different textures and flavors – salty, spicy, sweet and sour.
We have eaten this delicious salad so many times at this point that we needed to know how to make it at home. This recipe comes together in just 20 minutes and it’s super easy!
What is green papaya?
The main ingredient for this salad is green papaya, and as the name implies, it is basically an unripe papaya. We all know the ripe papaya, the sweet orange-fleshed fruit with a melon-y taste. The green ones almost taste like a vegetable instead of a fruit. It has a really mild taste making it perfect for a salad recipe.
When you’re choosing a green papaya, it’s important that you get one that is very green. If it has a hint of yellow on the skin, chances are it’s already started to ripen. When you can’t find green papaya at a (Asian) market near you, you can use a crisp vegetable instead such as daikon or cucumber.
Thai Papaya Salad
- 1 small green papaya
- 4 long green beans
- 6 cherry tomatoes
- 1 carrot
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 red bird’s eye chilies (depending on how brave you are)
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce (or make it vegan with soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1½ tablespoons palm sugar (or use 2 teaspoons of brown sugar)
- 2 tablespoons toasted peanuts
- Peel the papaya and slice it in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and shred into small strips (with a shredder or a mandolin slicer) Place in a bowl with cold water while you prepare the rest of the salad. This makes the papaya strips crunchier.
- Cut the green beans into one-inch pieces. Throw away the endings. Crush the long bean pieces with the flat side of your knife until bruised. This not only tenderizes them, but it also helps them absorb more dressing.
- Peel the carrot and shred it same way as papaya. Chop the tomatoes and mash gently – just enough to release the juices.
- Chop the garlic, chilies, and half of the peanuts together on a board until finely minced. You still ought to see bits and pieces, not a puree.
- Add these to a mixing bowl along with the palm sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce (or soy sauce). Mix the dressing, making sure the palm sugar gets fully dissolved into the liquid. If you have a mortar and pestle, you can also pound these ingredients together to make the dressing, which is more traditional.
- Remove the shredded papaya from the water and add the veggies and dressing to a mixing bowl.
- Toss everything together well, and sprinkle with remaining chopped peanuts. Enjoy!
- These chilies are quite spicy, so 1 is good enough for us. Feel free to go for 2 if you love the spice!
- Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- You can find ready-toasted peanuts in the supermarkets. If you want to do it yourself; toast the peanuts in a small frying pan over a medium heat until golden brown.
- The balance of fish sauce (or soy sauce), lime juice, and palm sugar listed here are guidelines. If you’d like a more intense flavor or extra saltiness, add an extra splash of fish/soy sauce. If it’s too sour, sprinkle a little bit sugar over your salad and toss to mix (the sugar will melt in a minute or two).
- Last, but certainly not least…End your Thai party on a sweet note with Mango Sticky Rice.
PIN IT FOR LATER!