Som Tum Salad

Thailand’s most prestigious salad Som Tum is truly crowned as the most recognised dish of the country. We can observe differences in flavour across regions by substitution of particular ingredients adopted by the crossing of cuisines between borders (amounts of chillies added for example); yet ,wherever you go, Som Tum stands as a unique masterpiece within the culinary language of Thai food. This particular salad is usually paired very well with grilled meats such as chicken, pork, various sausages, grilled vegetables to temperate the heat, and of course sticky rice. For spice fans, this dish is the ultimate heat challenge because beneath the beautiful exterior lies an undetectable fiery heart employed by a cook’s own individual direction.

What is even more surprising however, is that when asking for a spice-free Som Tum at a restaurant, they seem to ignore the request and provide a salad ridden with hidden flames; so make sure to communicate very well with the waiter! Som Tum is a very fresh salad due to its requirements of al pronto assembly and quick serving to fully extract its spellbinding exotic taste, just make sure to get the heat right! If you don’t have green papaya, use carrots instead (a total of 4 pieces rather than 2 in this recipe).


Serves 3-4

Green Beans cut into 4cm pieces 100g
Garlic crushed & peeled 3 cloves
Red Bird’s Eye Chilli 1
Papaya julienned 400g
Cherry Tomatoes halved 200g
Cashew Nuts 2 tbs

Salad Dressing
Fish Sauce 2 tbs
Lime Wedges 6
Coconut Palm Sugar 2 tbs

  1. In a pestle & mortar (and a spoon to help), gently pound green beans, garlic and chilli until they becomes slightly soft. Add papaya and continue for about a minute. Add halved cherry tomatoes and gently pound just to release its juices.
  2. Throw in cashew nuts and add all of salad dressing ingredients into the pestle & mortar including lime wedges. Pound lightly and incorporate well using a spoon to help mix. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  3. Transfer Som Tum Salad onto a serving plate.

4 thoughts on “Som Tum Salad

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