Som Tam

In this post I bring to you healthy, light and spicy-licious (if you like) Thai papaya salad or som tam!! A lot is known to the world about this famous Thai salad especially the fact that Thai salads are “hot”. The more the hotness, the better it tastes. But one thing I must point out is that Som tam without a mortar and pestle does not bring the same outcome it should so if you were to try this recipe, do invest in the Thai mortar and pestle specially used for Som tam.

Thai kids learn to eat spicy food from a young age, but remember the choice to introduce spicy food to your children is up to you. My kids are 5 now and I don’t add chilli to their som tam just yet. I always have it lying next to the other ingredients and allow them to decide if they are ready to try. 

In my family, som tam is a weekly thing. We enjoy our som tam with sticky rice, fried chicken and a lot many other sides. It’s a feast. We also spend time together in the kitchen preparing all of these. Som tam is the children’s task. And trust me it is one task they are happy to do.

Som tam is an easy dish to compile, which requires no cooking. However if you live abroad you may find it difficult to get all the ingredients so I have mentioned some substitutes below.

p.s. look out for the video on my Instagram
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Ingredients :-

• 1 raw papaya
• 1 carrot
• 4 cloves garlic
• 2-5 bird eye chillies (depending on your liking)
• 1-2 tsp palm sugar (any sugar will do)
• 2 tbsp fish sauce or light soya sauce
• 1 whole lime
• 1 stalk long yard beans
• 2 medium sized tomatoes
• ¼ cup dried shrimp (skip if vegetarian)
• ½ cup roasted and peeled peanuts

Note: For an authentic touch of flavour, you will need the Thai mortar and pestle. You will also need a vegetable slice peeler.


1. Using a special kind of vegetable peeler called the slice peeler, slice the carrots and papaya.
2. In a mortar, crush garlic and bird eye chillies and peanuts together.
3. Add roughly sliced tomatoes and crush a bit.
4. Follow by a spoon of palm sugar – add more only if you prefer your salad on the sweeter side. Also add fish sauce/soya sauce. Use a spoon to mix these with the other ingredients already in the mortar.
5. Add the yard beans and shrimp. Crush a bit.
6. Squeeze one whole lime into the mortar. Here is when you taste the salad seasoning and see if it is to your liking. Add some more chillies or sugar or fish sauce according to your prefernce.
7. Finally add in the papaya and carrot. With a pestle and a large spoon, bring the ingredients together.
8. Serve along side Thai sticky rice for an authentic touch.



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