Thai Papaya Salad

Monday, February 20th 2023

Here is a recipe for Thai papaya salad (Som Tam) that is well-regarded:


  • 1 small green papaya, peeled and shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Thai bird's eye chilies, minced (or to taste)
  • 1-2 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, crushed
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • A handful of fresh mint leaves, torn
  • A handful of fresh Thai basil leaves, torn


  1. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, shred the papaya into thin, matchstick-sized pieces.
  2. In a large mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and chilies together until they are well mashed.
  3. Add the sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice to the mortar and mix until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Add the shredded papaya and chopped tomatoes to the mortar and pound gently to mix and bruise the vegetables. Be careful not to overdo it - the salad should still have some texture and crunch.
  5. Add the crushed peanuts, cilantro, mint, and Thai basil to the mortar and gently toss to combine.
  6. Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning as needed with more fish sauce, lime juice, or sugar.
  7. Serve the salad immediately, garnished with extra herbs and peanuts if desired.

Note: If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can use a large bowl and a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients together. The salad can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a day, but it is best served fresh. Enjoy!