I was first introduced to som tum by my Thai friend, Minty. And after finally making my own, I can see why she adores it so much. Papaya salad is a glorious interplay of briny soy sauce, fiery chilli and silky palm sugar. Although if you shy away from spice, I would suggest leaving the chillies out completely.
Should green papaya prove difficult to find at your local Asian store, try shredding some peeled and deseeded cucumber, courgettes (zucchini), or even sharp-tasting apples. Whatever you use, just make sure that it has firm, taut flesh, making it easy to transform into thin ribbons.
Use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
First, peel and shred the green papaya – you want to end up with about
Next make the dressing. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the chillies and garlic to a paste. Add the tamarind, palm sugar, peanuts and soy sauce. Continue to pound until you have a smooth dressing with small flecks of peanut in it.
Toss in the cherry tomatoes and green beans and bash them just to bruise them a little. Add the shredded papaya and use the pestle to distribute it evenly and coat it with the dressing. If your mortar and pestle isn’t big enough to hold everything at once, remove half of the dressing before adding the vegetables and work in two batches.
Serve the salad garnished with peanuts and lime wedges.
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