Thai Spicy Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam, ส้มต)

Green Papaya is most often used to make Thailand’s famous – Green Papaya Salad. (Som Tam, ส้มตำ) Green papaya is not a different variety of papaya but rather the unripe fruit of the papaya tree. When it is unripe it is eaten more like a vegetable then a fruit.

Raw papaya is good for you as it helps your digestive system with tons of fibers and is very high in vitamin C. Also it is a very tasty and refreshing appetizer in a hot summer day.  One of my fishing buddies Tony introduced this salad and I loved it ever since.

Thai Spicy Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam, ส้มต)

Key points:

  1. Palm sugar; use the Thai version (not the Malaysian kind)
  2. Fish Sauce; use the Golden Boy brand
  3. Thai red pepper; they are super hot and spicy so use it with care.  Wash your hands before rubbing your eyes.


Green papaya, shred it with a food processor – about 1 lbs

Thai dry shrimp (soak in water for 30 minutes and finely chopped) – 2 teaspoons

Green beans – 4 stalks cut into small pieces

Cherry tomatoes cut to half – 8x

Fish sauce – 2 teaspoons

Thai red pepper – 2x

Palm sugar (Thai version), use a grater and grate it to fine powder – x1

Lime juice from one lime

Garlic – x1 clove

Shallot, finely chopped – x1

Green Onion (only the bottom white scallion portion) – x1

Cilantro, small bunch finely chopped

Roasted salted peanut, roughly chopped – 2 tablespoons


Use a food processor to shred the green papaya.  You also can use a hand shredder if you don’t have a food processor. Set aside in a mixing bowl and keep in refrigerator.

Put garlic, shallot, cilantro, green bean, scallion, red pepper, and ½ the cherry tomatoes in the motar and start grinding it.  It seems that the motar can bring out and blend all the tastes together.

In a small bowl, put in the already grated palm sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and dry shrimp and mix well.

Transfer the all the ingredients from the motar to the bowl with the liquid and mix well.

Just before serving, pour the dressing from the small bowl to the mixing bowl with the shredded green papaya and mix well.  Use the pestle of the motar to pound the green papaya so the taste of the dressing can penetrate and spread around evenly.  Garnish with the rest of the tomatoes, peanuts and cilantro.

Green Papaya Salad_Ingredients
Chopped Dry Shrimp
Lime juice_Fish sauce_Palm sugar mix
Mortar and Pestle
Grind ingredients into a paste


Hand shredder
Thai Palm Sugar
Thai Fish Sauce (Gold Boy Brand)
Thai Spicy Green Papaya Salad, Salad is ready!

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