In this post I bring to you a healthy, light and spicy-licious Thai green papaya salad or Somtam!! A lot is known to the world about this famous Thai salad especially the fact that Thai salads are “hot”. It’s true when they say, “The more the hotness, the better it tastes”.

But the fact remains that without the exclusive Thai clay based mortar and pestle, Somtam is not quite the same. So if you want to go authentic you may have to look into buying the mentioned mortar and pestle.

Thai kids learn to eat spicy food from a fairly young age, but there isn’t any right age to do that. You simply let he child decide when he is ready. My boys are 5 now and I don’t add chilli to their Somtam just yet. I always have it lying next to the other ingredients and let them decide if they’d like to add them in.

For us, Somtam is a weekend feast. We pair it with sticky rice, fried chicken and aloo. We also cook up this feast together.

Somtam is an easy dish to compile, which requires no cooking. And hence children as young as 3 can help put this dish together.

There are many many variants of Somtam, to name a few:-

Carrot Somtam – this is entirely based on carrots. All ingredients are the same without the papaya.
Avocado Somtam – it’s somtam with an addition of Avocados directly onto the serving plate.
Fresh Prawns Somatam – another somtam variant with the addition of boiled fresh prawns.

For the traditional Thai papaya salad, you will need..


• 1 raw papaya
• 1 carrot
• 4 cloves garlic
• 2-5 bird eye chillies
• 1-2 tsp coconut palm sugar
• 2 tbsp fish sauce or light soya sauce
• 1 whole lime
• 1 stalk long yard beans
• 2 medium sized tomatoes
• 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, bird eye chilli and peanuts together.
    3. Add roughly sliced tomatoes into the mortar. Pound a bit to release the tomato juice.
    4. Then add a teaspoon of palm sugar. 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. Pound with strength to crush them a bit.
    6. Squeeze one whole lime into the mortar. Taste and season some more to your liking.
  2. 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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