Let’s Cook: Som Tum Thai (Green Papaya Salad)

Sorry for the delay everyone! I’ve been super busy with a new job, a new apartment, and a new little niece! I haven’t had much time to update the blog, but I’m getting back to it … and starting with one of my favorite dishes ever … som tum!! Enjoy!

Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad)

I must say, my absolute favorite Thai dish is som tum. A salad made with fresh green papaya, som tum is spicy, sweet and refreshing all at the same time. I do love me some curry and dozens of other awesome dishes, but if I had to choose one single Thai dish to eat for the rest of my life, this would be it.

I apologize for not getting this recipe up sooner! I should have done it in Thailand but didn’t get around to it. Then, after returning to Seattle, I have struggled to find fresh green papaya! It’s definitely a rarity in this area. Most papaya you find is the fruit in its traditional form. Finding a market that carries this type of papaya has taken nearly a year, but I finally found one! So, here you are with a simple but awesome recipe for som tum.

This particular recipe is for som tum Thai, which includes peanuts. You can always keep those out if you want, but personally, I think it makes the dish!

Note: If you are going to use a mortar and pestle, make sure that it is clay or wood. A stone mortar and pestle will bruise the ingredients too much. You want a surface that will give. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you can just use a large bowl and crush with a spoon.

Som Tum Thai - Green Papaya Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: intermediate


  • 2 cups green papaya shredded
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 8 or so string beans, cut into 1inch pieces
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4-6 Thai chilies, sliced in half
  • 2 TBSP fish sauce
  • 2 TBSP palm sugar (can substitute white or brown sugar)
  • 2 TBSP fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup peanuts
  1. Mix fish sauce and lime juice together in the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Add sugar and mix until partially dissolved.
  3. Add chilies, garlic, string beans, and tomatoes and bruise with pestle (or spoon). To bruise is to crush slightly so they keep their form but are slightly falling apart.
  4. Add shredded papaya and bruise while mixing with spoon. Make sure sauce is coating the papaya.
  5. Add peanuts and mix.
  6. Serve and enjoy!


  1. Taste your sauce before you add the vegetables. If you want the sauce sweeter, add more palm sugar. If you want more salt, add fish sauce. If you want spicier, add more chilies. It is easier to do this prior to the vegetables being added than after!

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