Depending on what part of Thailand you are at you'll find a different recipe for Som Tam. Some recipes call for seafood or fish and some have more spice than others. This is our take at Herbal Goodness.
This green papaya salad, also known as "som tam", is popular the world over, and when you taste the flavors of it you'll know why. The slightly tart flavor of the green papaya combines wonderfully with the spice of red chili and the saltiness of fish sauce and the sweetness of honey (note that it can also be made vegetarian/vegan - see recipe).
Green papaya salad is a wonderfully unique and flavor-filled dish that will make a great entrance to any meal or as a meal in itself. It's also easy to make, low-calorie, and very nutritious. So try this Som tam recipe for today.
Prep time: 30 minutes ---- Yield: Serves 4 as a side dish
1 small green papaya, OR 1/2 large (see recipe)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts or cashews
2 cups bean sprouts
1 to 2 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges or long strips
3 spring onions, cut into long matchstick-like pieces
1/2 cup fresh basil, leaves left whole or chopped
of fresh coriander
1 red chili, sliced, seeds removed (reduce or omit, to taste)
optional: 1 cup blanched green beans
3 Tbsp. fish sauce OR coconut aminos (soy sauce) for vegetarians
2 Tbsp. good-tasting oil (peanut, coconut, walnut, sunflower)
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 to 1 Tbsp. liquid honey or agave (for vegans), to taste
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. chili flakes or cayenne pepper, to taste
About Green Papaya: You may be able to find unripe papaya in your local supermarket - it should have greenish-orange to green skin. If not, the best place is an Asian food store or market. It should be firm on the outside; inside flesh will be white to light orange.
Make-Ahead Tip: If you wish to make this salad ahead of time, combine all ingredients except the nuts and the dressing. You can then leave it covered in the refrigerator several hours, or overnight. Add the dressing and peanuts at the last minute, then toss and serve.