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Papaya Salad
som tam ส้มตำ
Posted: 12th February 2005

One of my favourite meals, which is definately in my Top 10, is Som Tam, otherwise known as Papaya Salad.

The meal is quite simple to make. The main ingredients are shredded green papaya, chopped green beans, tomoato, dried prawns, unsalted roasted peanuts, chillies, garlic and lime juice. These are all pounded together in a mortar using a pestle. The sound it makes is "pok pok". Whenever I hear that sound while walking down the street I always turnaround to look for the som tam stall.

The papaya salad is best served with sticky rice (khao neow) and grilled chicken. That is the way I like it. But you can have fish instead. There is also a recipe which has crab.

When you come to buy Papaya Salad, it is nearly always prepared in front of you. This way you can tell them how many chillies you want! I like mine hot. Papaya Salad with sticky rice from a roadside stall will cost you about 20 baht.

Recipe:

1 medium dark green papaya
4 garlic cloves (kratiem)
6 green Thai chilies (prik khee noo)
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup chopped green beans, in 1-in (2.5-cm) pieces
2 tablespoons anchovy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sauce
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) lime juice or tamarind juice (ma-kaam piag)

How to make:

1. Peel the papaya and rinse with running water to remove the acid. Remove the seeds and shred the papaya with a grater. Set aside.
2. Place the garlic cloves and the chilies in a mortar and mash with a pestle until crushed into chunks. Place the papaya and the remaining ingredients in the mortar and gently combine all ingredients by mixing with the pestle and a spoon. Serve cold.

Source: "Thailand the Beautiful Cookbook" by Panurat Poladitmontr

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