Green papaya and peanut salad

Som" tam" Thai

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

Green papaya is unripe papaya, and has white firm flesh and green skin. If you can’t find it, use unripe mango or a firm deseeded cucumber. Never use a regular ripe papaya.


  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 birdseye chillies, roughly chopped
  • 2 large mild red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 piled tbsp dried shrimp
  • 1 large green papaya, around 300 g peeled, deseeded and shredded
  • 1-2 tbsp fish sauce
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or caster sugar
  • 4 small tomatoes, halved, deseeded and cut lengthways into eighths
  • large handful of beansprouts
  • 4 tbsp toasted crushed peanuts


Pound together the garlic and chillies with a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar until crushed and pasty. Roughly pound in the dried shrimp and a small handful of the shredded green papaya, so that it’s crushed but still chunky. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar until dissolved. Tip into a bowl, then add the remaining papaya, the tomatoes, beansprouts and about 3 tbsp of the toasted peanuts and toss through until all is well coated. Serve sprinkled with the remaining crushed peanuts.