This delicious vegan recipe for Thai Green Papaya Salad also known as Som Tam is everything you could possibly want from a salad: crunchy, sweet, sour, spicy, salty and healthy. Easy to make and delicious to taste.
For tamarind water, soak the dried tamarind in the hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Squeeze the tamarind and add the pulp to the water. Set aside.
Grating green papaya
Rinse, pat dry and peel the unripe green papaya. Halve it vertically. Remove any of the tiny white seeds and pith. Grate or shred using a food processor or a box grater.
Making salad dressing
In a mortar, take the birds eye chillies and garlic cloves. Using a pestle and mortar, mash the bird's eye chilies and garlic together. If using long beans, then add 2 to 3 beans (chopped) at this step.
Add the prepared tamarind water, palm sugar, soy sauce, lemon juice and sea salt as needed to the mortar. Mash and mix everything to a loose paste.
Add chopped tomato or halved cherry tomatoes. Mash the tomatoes a bit, but not too much.
Making papaya salad
Pour dressing mixture in the bowl containing the shredded papaya. Mix very well and mash a bit to soften the unripe papaya. Check the taste and add more salt, palm sugar, lemon juice, crushed bird's eye chillies or tamarind pulp if needed.
Serve garnished with chopped roasted peanuts and cilantro.
Som tam tastes awesome as it is. But you can choose to serve it as a side or as a starter with a Thai main course.
The papaya salad flavors pair well with pan fried tofu, fried rice, stir fried noodles, grilled or sautéed mushrooms, tofu steaks, or fresh, blanched, sautéed or roasted vegetables like carrots, potatoes, brussels sprouts, corn on the cobs, cabbage, green beans, cauliflower, bell pepper or lettuce.
The salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days. You can eat it cold or let it come to room temperature before serving.
Tamarind: If you are unable to find dried tamarind, substitute ½ to 1 tablespoon of packaged tamarind paste or sauce, depending on how sour it is.
Soy sauce: Tamari or coconut aminos are acceptable substitutes for soy sauce.
Alter the pungency: You can use piri piri peppers in place of bird's eye chiles depending on what you have available. Also, feel free to increase or decrease the amount of chillies depending on your heat tolerance.
Salt: While I prefer sea salt, you can opt to use kosher salt, Himalayan pink salt or table salt instead.
Sweeteners: You can opt to use sweeteners like coconut sugar, raw sugar, jaggery, brown sugar that also work well in the recipe.
Long Beans& Carrots - We do not eat raw beans, so I do not include them in my recipe. However, if you want a more traditional Thai green papaya salad, feel free to add them. You can also add grated carrots if you like.