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Thai Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad) Recipe


Welcome to a delicious and refreshing Thai Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad) Recipe! This vibrant dish is bursting with flavors and textures that will transport your taste buds straight to Thailand. With the perfect balance of tangy, spicy, and sweet notes, this salad is a true treat for the senses.

Origin and History Of This Recipe:

Thai Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad) originated in the northeastern region of Thailand, known as Isan. This dish has a long history dating back to the ancient times when it was made by pounding together fresh ingredients in a mortar and pestle. Today, it is considered a staple in Thai cuisine and is enjoyed both locally and internationally for its unique taste and health benefits.

Things To Expect In This Post Article:

In this post, we will cover the origin and history of Thai Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad), list all the required ingredients, provide detailed preparation steps, offer cooking time and serving suggestions, and share personal insights and tips to enhance your cooking experience. Additionally, we will provide nutritional information, health conditions to consider, and answer frequently asked questions related to this recipe.

Ingredients List:

  • 1 medium-sized green papaya
  • 1 carrot
  • 2-3 Thai bird chilies
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons of roasted peanuts
  • Cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • Long beans (optional)

Preparation Steps:

  1. Peel and shred the green papaya and carrot using a julienne peeler or a knife.
  2. Crush the Thai bird chilies and garlic in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Add fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and tamarind paste to the crushed chilies and garlic. Mix well.
  4. Toss the shredded papaya and carrot with the dressing until well coated.
  5. Garnish with roasted peanuts and additional toppings like cherry tomatoes and long beans if desired. Serve and enjoy!

Cooking Time & Servings:

Total cooking time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Personal Touch:

Growing up in Thailand, Thai Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad) was a dish I always looked forward to during family gatherings. The vibrant colors and bold flavors never fail to impress, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. I hope this recipe brings a taste of Thailand to your kitchen and creates fond memories for you as well.

Nutritional Information:

Per serving:
Calories: 150
Carbohydrates: 20g
Protein: 3g
Fat: 7g
Fiber: 4g

Health Conditions And People To Avoid This:

  • Individuals with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues may want to avoid Thai Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad) due to its spiciness and acidity, which can aggravate these conditions.
  • Those with peanut allergies should omit the roasted peanuts or substitute them with a different topping.

Nutrition and Benefits To The Body:

  • Green papaya is rich in vitamins A and C, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin and boosting immunity.
  • The spicy Thai bird chilies can help improve metabolism and aid in weight loss.
  • The garlic and lime juice in the dressing are known for their antibacterial and antiviral properties, promoting overall health and wellness.


  • Excessive consumption of spicy foods like Thai Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad) can irritate the stomach lining and lead to digestive discomfort.
  • The high sodium content in fish sauce may contribute to high blood pressure if consumed in large amounts.

Tips and Tricks:

  • For a milder version, reduce the amount of Thai bird chilies in the dressing.
  • Customize the salad by adding your favorite proteins like grilled chicken or shrimp.
  • Make extra dressing and store it in the fridge for future use on salads or grilled meats.

Equipment Needed:

  • Julienne peeler or knife
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Mixing bowl
  • Serving plate or bowl

Variations or Substitutions:

  • Substitute green papaya with cucumber or mango for a different twist on the traditional recipe.
  • Use soy sauce instead of fish sauce for a vegetarian version.
  • Add sliced red bell peppers or shredded cabbage for additional crunch and flavor.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve Thai Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad) as a side dish to grilled meats or seafood.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs like cilantro or mint for a pop of color and freshness.
  • Enjoy with sticky rice or steamed jasmine rice for a complete Thai meal experience.

Storage and Reheating Instructions:

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Reheat the salad in a microwave-safe dish for 30 seconds or enjoy it cold as a refreshing snack.


We hope you enjoy making and savoring this mouthwatering Thai Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad) Recipe. Don’t forget to share your culinary creations and tag us on social media for a chance to be featured! Let us know your feedback and any questions you may have. Happy cooking!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I make this salad ahead of time?
A: Yes, you can prepare the salad ingredients ahead of time and toss them together just before serving to maintain freshness.
Q: Is it necessary to use a mortar and pestle for the dressing?
A: While a mortar and pestle help release the flavors of the ingredients, you can also use a food processor or blender for convenience.
Q: How spicy is Thai Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad)?
A: The spiciness can be adjusted by adding fewer Thai bird chilies or removing the seeds for a milder taste.
Q: Can I omit the fish sauce for a vegetarian version?
A: Yes, you can use soy sauce or a vegan fish sauce substitute to make the salad vegetarian-friendly.
Q: Are there any variations to make this salad more filling?
A: Adding protein sources like grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu can make the salad more substantial and satisfying.

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