Green Papaya Salad with Long Bean, Limes, Roasted Peanuts and Sticky Rice

Som Tum


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 to 6

    servings as part of a multi-dish meal

Appears in

Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore

Southeast Asian Flavors

By Robert Danhi

Published 2008

  • About

When I land in Thailand this is the first dish I seek out. On the streets of Thailand, a tall clay mortar with a large wooden pestle signals the rhythmic pounding that characterizes this dish. Vendors make salads to order. Don’t be surprised if they offer you a taste to see if you like how they seasoned it, speak up, this is your chance to tweak the flavors to suite your palate. This Northeast Thai favorite is served sticky rice, to cool its fiery bite. Though it’s traditional to add fermented crabs, this is one time I throw tradition to the wind. The rank flavor and aroma of that condiment is too much for even my seasoned palate. One version I did especially like had slivers of thin-skinned limes pounded right in with the papaya. Their essential oils perfumed the simultaneously chewy and crunchy salad.


  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 2 to 4 Thai bird chilies stems removed
  • 1 Tbsp. Dried shrimp
  • 2 Tbsp. Tamarind pulp
  • ¼ cup Lime juice
  • 4 Tbsp. Fish sauce (nahm pla)
  • 3 Tbsp. Light brown palm sugar
  • 1 cup Long beans, cut in 1½ to 2-inch (5 cm.) lengths or other green beans
  • 4 cup Green papaya, hand-cut into rough slivers, about ⅛ inch (0.3 cm.) thick
  • ¼ cup Peanuts, roasted in dry pan, roughly chopped
  • 8 Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ Head Green cabbage, cut into 4 wedges
  • 2 cups Steamed Sticky Rice


  1. Prepare the Dressing: In minifood processor, combine garlic and chilies together; pulse to roughly chop. Add the dried shrimp, tamarind, lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar; pulse until shrimp are broken up a bit (still large pieces).
  2. Make Salad: Combine this dressing with long beans in a bowl. Using a stiff whisk, meat mallet, or potato masher pound the beans to bruise them well (about 10 strokes). Add the papaya and peanuts; continue to pound, tossing mixture with the dressing after every few stokes. Add the tomato pieces; pound a few times to bruise lightly, and then stir to incorporate.
  3. Taste and adjust as needed with more fish sauce, lime juice or palm sugar. Serve with the cabbage and sticky rice.