Som Tam

by Lisa K. on Tue, November 27, 2018

Som Tam is a popular Thai salad with lots of flavour, spice and attitude. It is essentially shredded young papaya with nuts, tomatoes, long beans, dried shrimp with a killer dressing that hits all your tastebuds - sweet, sour, spicy and salty. It is a great accompaniment with any Thai dishes but definitely not one of those eat-alone salad. Do try this awesome recipe out, you can have a piece of Thailand at home.

Sweet, sour, spicy and salty – Who said salads were boring?

Serves 2 people

Don’t over pound the garlic and chilli padi. You’re not making sambal belacan.

Green papaya is essentially an unripen papaya. It can easily be found in the wet markets, usually sold with vegetables and not in the fruits area.

Foodster's Verdict

Som Tam


  • Preparation
  • Total
    3 garlic
    4 red chilli padi
    1 tbsp. dried shrimp
    ¼ cup roasted peanuts (leave some for garnishing)
    2 tbsp. palm sugar
    2 tbsp. fish sauce
    4 cherry tomatoes, halved
    1 long bean, cut into 1 inch sticks
    1 lime, juice only
    2 cups green papaya, shredded


1. Shred green papaya first. To do that, peel the skin off the papaya. Use a sharp knife and make multiple incisions along the papaya and then slice it off to get individual shreds. Keep at it until you get the amount you want.

Young papayas are usually sold in the vegetable section at the market

2. Crush garlic and chilli padi in mortar and pestle. Don’t over-pound it.

3. Add in dried shrimp and peanuts. Crush ‘em a little bit.

4. Add in palm sugar, fish sauce and tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes and mix around the dressing. Make sure the sugar is all dissolved.

5. Add in long beans and lightly crush it up.

All the crushing is to break the ingredient down slightly so it can absorb all the dressing

6. Squeeze in lime juice and check seasoning. Adjust taste to your liking. Just the level of sweetness, saltiness, spiciness and sourness all depends on your personal preference.

No two Som Tams are the same. Dressing is done to your personal preference

7. If your mortar and pestle is big enough, add in shredded papaya and lightly grind it into the dressing. Mix up and grind. If not, put shredded papaya into a metal bowl/container, pour all the dressing onto it and mix it up. Crush it slightly with the pestle.

8. Serve it up and garnish with the remaining peanuts.