Green Papaya Salad Recipe (Som Tam)

I had probably only eaten green (unripe) papaya on a few occasions before I visited Vietnam. In Hanoi, I ate it at least once a day because it was a very common relish that was often paired with nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce) in various dishes like bun cha, bun bo nam bo, banh cuon and more.

Similarly in Thailand, the green papaya is also regularly consumed in the form of a salad known as Som Tam. I had tried several versions from the streets, food courts as well as the famous Som Tam Nua on Siam Square Soi 5 and I must say I hadn’t had one green papaya salad that wasn’t good. Crunchy, piquant, super appetising.

Basically, the ingredients for all green papaya salads are similar. However they may come with different toppings like salted eggs, brined crabs, etc – so it depends on what you prefer. This Green Papaya Salad Recipe was made according to my preferred spice level. You would have to adjust the amount of bird’s eye chillies if you like it less or more spicy.

For those of you residing in Singapore, you can buy green papayas from the vegetable section of the Thai Supermarket @ Golden Mile Complex.

Green Papaya Salad Recipe

Green Papaya Salad Recipe
  • 1 green papaya (approx. 840g), peeled & shredded
  • 100g long beans, sliced into 1″ sections
  • 3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp dried prawns, rinsed & toasted in frying pan with 1 tsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled & shredded
  • handful of roasted peanuts
Sauce (combine in a bowl)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • juice from 8 calamansi limes
  • 2 tbsp hot water
Using a mortar and pestle, pound the long beans, garlic and chillies.
Add sauce and the rest of the ingredients.
Stir thoroughly with a spoon to combine.
If not eating immediately, chill in fridge for flavours to marry.


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