Dish of the Day: Som Tam Cucumber
For those who are looking to lose weight, salads are a must-have on any diet meal plan. But the usual western salads can get quite dull and repetitive. This is where the Som Tam Cucumber comes in!
You will get the healthy nutrients that you get from eating any ordinary salad without having to sacrifice your taste buds. Som Tam Cucumber can be eaten as a light snack or as dinner. Either way, it’s tasty and filling.
What is Som Tam Cucumber?
Som Tam or green papaya salad is made by mixing unripe papaya, chilli sauce, fish sauce, lime, and palm sugar, to make a salad.
Som Tam has that sweet, sour and tangy taste that suits the Southeast Asian taste bud. You can taste the sour from the lime, spiciness from chilli, salty from fish sauce, and the sweetness from palm sugar.
Som tam Cucumber is the same, but instead of the unripe papaya, it uses cucumber. The crunchiness of the cucumber goes well with the other ingredients in this salad. It’s usually served as a side dish with a bowl od white rice, but can be enjoyed on its own as well.
It is believed that Som Tam originated from the ethnic Lao, where they called the dish tam som. The Lao would use local vegetables and fruits, such as papaya or cucumber, to create the dish.
But, this dish was made famous in Thailand. Due to the Vietnam War, many Lao refugees migrated to Thailand. And with them, came Som Tam.
The opening of Mittraphap Road and the northeastern railway increased job opportunities. This led to Thailand becoming one of the biggest inter-regional migration countries in the world. Hence, helping to popularise and increase the demand for Lao food.
According to Van Esterik, middle-class Bangkok has since modified this dish to create its own national cuisine. The Som Tam has since been represented as Thai food to the outside world. They’ve changed the amount of chilli used, discard some ingredients and increased the sugar amount in this dish, hence making it their own.
How to make Som Tam and its varieties
It is effortless to prepare the Som Tam. This spicy and crunchy Thai salad is deliciously healthy. And Som Tam Cucumber is one of many types of Som Tams.
It is made by pounding chilli, garlic and tomato. Later, this paste is mixed with chopped cucumbers, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice. Shredded carrot is also usually added to add a more appealing colour.
There are also other varieties of the SOm Tam. For example, Som Tam Papaya is more well-known than Som Tam Cucumber. This is because papaya is more readily available in Thailand. Outside of Thailand, papaya can be more expensive and hard to come by.
You can try different types of Som Tam just by replacing the papaya or cucumber. For example, you can use banana, mango, or mixed fruits.
Malaysians too have our very own version of this salad, Kerabu Mangga. Instead of papayas or cucumbers, mangoes are used as the main ingredient. The basic ingredients are mostly the same.
Where can you find Som Tam Cucumber in Malaysia?
To get Som Tam Cucumber in Malaysia, you have to visit Thai themed restaurants. Other than that, you can found various types of Som Tam at night markets. These types of salad are very popular among Malaysians, especially during the Ramadan month.
Try the Som Tam Cucumber from Street Thai (Jaya One). They also sell Som Tam Papaya if you want to compare the two.
Find more of the Thailand cuisine on foodpanda! The foodpanda app offers a variety of cuisines and delivers them straight to your doorstep.
Article Written By Anna
Anna is an absolute foodie, and lives by the motto that food is happiness. She is a writer by day and a gamer by night. She believes that good food comes from all over and is constantly amazed by the passion and dedication it takes to make food that warms the soul.