Green Papaya Thai Salad(Som Tum)

I’ve been dreaming of making a green papaya salad for awhile now. I just don’t see them (the unripe not-sweet green kind) around too often.Last week when I had been to pick up grocery, my eyes instantly went on to the raw green papaya. Even without a second thought, I immediately picked it up and was so happy that I could finally try making this salad which I relish so much at Thai restaurants.
Now the challenge was to Make the salad absolutely vegetarian.Most often this salad popularly known as Som Tum Salad uses fish sauce for the dressing.So I wanted to try a vegetarian alternative to this and tried making a version of this salad dressing using soya sauce instead. Well the result was amazing, it was so delicious that I could not stop emptying the bowl of salad all on my own !
This Thai salad is nothing but packed with explosion of flavours and unforgettable textural wonders. Som Tum, in Thai, is a no-cooking refreshing green papaya salad that usually serves as an entree or as a side along with main dishes because of its sourness that opens up the appetite.
As in most Thai dishes there is a fine balance here between sweet, salty, sour and spicy.
In Thailand sugar is added to many dishes, not so much to make them sweet, but rather to bring out the flavors of some of the other ingredients. In this dish we get the sweet from the palm sugar usually , but I added honey instead ,salty from soy sauce( as mentioned it’s usually fish sauce but I replaced it with soya sauce )sour from fresh lime juice and spicy from red chilli flakes.
It would be interesting to know that green papayas also have health benefits which makes it a healthy fruit. Unripe papayas are rich in vitamins, enzymes and phytonutrients. Raw green papayas contains essential nutrients and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and vitamins like A, C, B and E.Green unripe papayas are rich in enzymes; papain and chymopapain which are very good for the stomach. Green papayas benefits the health in many ways. For example, green papayas aid digestion, converts proteins into essential amino acids, cleanses the colon, fights nausea and constipation to name a few. Moreover, green papayas are also good for women as it protects the urinary tract from infections.
Here are some of the health benefits of the unripe green papayas.With all these health benefits and taste now let’s have a look at this wonderful recipe
Raw Green Papaya Thai Salad!

Serving Size                :2 portions

Prep Time                    : 15-20 mins
Total time                     : 20-25 mins
Meal type                    : Lunch/Dinner
Raw papaya                                           1 big cup shredded into thin slices
Carrots                                                     1 cup cut into thin pieces
Cucumber                                               1 cup. Cut into thin pieces
Cherry tomatoes                                  6-8
French beans/ long green beans     5-6
Peanuts                                                    2 tbsp
For the Dressing:
Peanuts                                                   2 tbsp
Chilli Flakes                                           1 -2 tbsp
Honey                                                       2 tbsp
Soy Sauce                                                 2 tbsp
Salt                                                            To Taste
Lime Juice                                               1 medium lemon
Garlic                                                        2 small pods
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the string beans and cook for 2 minutes, plunge into cold water. Drain well and cut each bean in half.
  • Halve the cherry tomatoes
  • Cut the papaya into really thin long  slices using a hand cutter or julienne cutter.
  • Cut the cucumber and carrot also in the similar way.(U can use a spiraliser to cut the cucumber and carrot into noodle shape,else you can cut it thin and long with a knife)

To make the dressing:

Toss all the dressing ingredients ,soy sauce, peanuts,lime juice,salt,honey and garlic into a blender or using a mortar and pestle grind all the ingredients together to form a paste.

Time to assemble the salad.

Put all the veggies together in a big bowl and pour in the dressing .Adjust the salt and spice to taste.Finally garnish it with some crushed peanuts.Serve it fresh as a main course or as an accompaniment with a main course.


Yummy and tasty green papaya Thai salad ready to eat.

-Deepa Damodar


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