This fiery little papaya salad – Som Tam, is one of Thailand most beloved recipe and best known culinary exports. This dish originates from the north-eastern part of Thailand where the same dish is a staple as well. It is a mixture of savoury and sour; addictively spicy and refreshingly crunchy and has become one of the most desirable flavours of south-east Asia.
In Thailand, this dish is usually served with steamed rice to neutralize the flavour of the intensely sour salad. Other than that, it is also served with boiled rice noodles, boiled salted egg, prawns and Thai grilled chicken.
Ingredients (2 servings):
- 2 cups shredded green papaya
- 2 tbs toasted peanuts
- 2 cloves peeled garlic
- 2 fresh birds eye chilli (adjust according to tolerance)
- 1 tbs dried shrimp
- ½ piece palm sugar
- 7 cherry tomatoes
- ½ lime juice
- 1½ tbs fish sauce
- 1-2 tbs Thai snake beans
- Crush a small handful of unsalted peanuts. Set aside.
- Melt palm sugar in a small pan at medium heat, add 2 tbs of water. Cook until a shiny and thick syrup is formed.
- Peel the papaya, shred it with a shredder to thin strips and soak them in cold water.
- Cut the green beans into one-inch pieces. Throw away the endings.
- Gently bash chillies and peeled garlic into small bits and pieces. Add shrimp and continue bashing. Add the crushed peanuts and mix well.
- Add the shredded papaya and continue bashing, but not too hard.
- Add the liquid palm sugar, tomatoes, beans, lime juice and fish sauce. Continue to bash lightly, shift with the spoon, and mix a little more.
- Serve on a big dish or bowl, sprinkle some crushed peanuts on top, and you’re done!
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