Supatra's Green Papaya Salad Recipe (Som Tam Thai)

Papaya Salad is refreshingly tart, spicy and sweet. In Thai it's called Som Tam (or Som Tum) and is prepared in a clay mortar with a wooden pestle and served nationwide as a popular restaurant and street food.

Green papaya, malakor in Thai, is central to the dish and available in our online Thai grocery. But, if you don't a green papaya, try substituting shredded cucumber, carrot and daikon radish.



  1. Cut papaya in half (lengthwise) and remove seeds. Peel the skin of the papaya and shred the flesh using a shredder or knife (the shreds should be thin and long). In a mortar and pestle, pound the chilies and garlic until they're broken up. Add the long green beans and roasted peanuts, pounding only enough to break them up a little bit.
  2. Add the shredded papaya, tomato, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and dried shrimp, pounding until everything is thoroughly mixed together. This dish should taste sweet, sour, and a little bit salty, so you may need to add more sugar, lime juice, or fish sauce to taste. Som Tum is commonly served with roasted or grilled meats, fried fish, sticky rice, Kao Mun Gai and fresh cabbage or lettuce.

Thai recipes calling for lemons, if written in Thailand, are actually calling for limes. Lemons are generally not available in Thailand unless imported and therefore not commonly used.

*If green papaya is not available substitute a combination of shredded hothouse cucumbers (about 2 cups, seedless), carrots (about 1/2 cup) and daikon radish (about 1/2 cup).

Recipe Copyright © 2004 Supatra Johnson, Image Copyright © 2010 Temple of Thai

Crying Tiger, Thai Recipes from the Heart

Crying Tiger: Thai Recipes from the Heart

Recipe from 'Crying Tiger: Thai Recipes from the Heart ' by Supatra Johnson.

This title is available in our cookbook section.

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