Now that supermarkets are expanding their inventory, it’s a lot easier to come by “exotic” products. Fish sauce, regional spices and condiments are sprouting from the aisles of local grocery stores, allowing us to explore food from different cultures with ease. One of my favorite Thai dishes is Som Tum or green papaya salad. It’s a delicious starter or side with so many contrasting flavors and textures. There are sweet, sour and spicy notes and a variety of textures–soft tomatoes, papaya that’s been slightly softened from the dressing, and crunchy peanuts. This is great on its own or served alongside grilled fish, poultry or meat.
Calories per serving: 124 per serving
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
1 small garlic clove
1-2 Thai chili peppers
1/2 cup long beans or green beans, cut into 1" segments
7 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 1/2 cups green papaya, shredded
1/2 tsp. dried shrimp, (optional)
2 tbsp. roasted peanuts, chopped
2 1/2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp palm sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. fish sauce
1. Peel the green papaya. Using a mandolin, slice the papaya on all sides and then cut into matchsticks.
2. In a mortar and pestle pound the dried shrimp until it forms a coarse powder.
3. Roast fresh peanuts in a pan over medium heat. Remove the skins and let cool.
4. Mix the lime juice and palm sugar together to make a syrup. Mix 2 Tablespoons of the lime juice/palm sugar syrup, fish sauce and dried shrimp together. Reserve.
5. In a mortar and pestle, pound the roasted peanuts until they are broken into halves or quarters. Reserve.
6. Pound the garlic and then the chilis until completely broken down. Add to them the papaya.
7. Gently pound the long beans until they break open slightly. Add them to the papaya.
8. Lightly pound the tomato halves, just enough to release some juice and add to the papaya.
9. Toss the salad mixture with the dressing and top with peanuts.