Bowl of Thai Fruit Salad
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Thai Fruit Salad
  -   Som Tam Phonlamai
1# 14oz  
50 min  
This fruit salad is made using the same Som Tam method used for the famous green papaya salads. It's normally made in a large clay mortar with a wooden pestle. If you don't have one you'll have to improvise (see Note-7).



Papaya, green. (1)  
Mixed Fruit (2)
Grapes, seedless
Grape Tomatoes
Thai Chili (3)
Dry Shrimp, small
Key Lime (4)
-- Dressing
Palm sugar (5)
Lime Juice
Fish Sauce (6)
--- Garnish
Roasted Peanuts (opt)  
    - lightly crushed.
Prep   -   (35 minutes)
  1. Crush PALM SUGAR and mix all Dressing items.
  2. Peel GREEN PAPAYA with a regular vegetable peeler. Cut into thin julienne strips. A julienning vegetable peeler is perfect for this. Mine is a Titan, far superior to the Oxo I used to have. Cut into about 2 inch lengths.
  3. Prepare CARROT the same as the Papaya. Mix with Papaya.
  4. Peel FRUIT only if needed, and cut into irregular 1 inch pieces. Mix.
  5. Cut GRAPES and GRAPE TOMATOES in half crosswise. Mix. If you are using larger Cherry Tomatoes, cut them into quarters.
  6. Slice CHILIS crosswise very thin and chop fine.
  7. Break up dried SHRIMP coarse to measure.
  8. Trim off ends of KEY LIME and cut lengthwise into 6 wedges. Cut the wedges in half crosswise (12 pieces).
Pounding   -   (15 min)
  1. In your clay mortar, pound Chili until well crushed (see Note-7).
  2. Add Lime Wedges: and pound just enough to release much of their juice.
  3. Add Dried Shrimp and pound just to blend.
  4. Add Green Papaya and Dressing mix. Pound until it is well bruised but not crushed, and the other ingredients are well distributed through it.
  5. Stir in Fruit Mix and pound gently until just bruised, but definitely not crushed.
  6. Stir in Grape mix and pound very gently.
  7. Let flavors blend for a while, then serve cool but not chilled. If you like (I don't), garnish with lightly crushed roasted peanuts.
  1. Green Papaya:   Weight is after peeling and cutting. This won't be much of a green papaya, but you can use the rest to make one of the green papaya salads and other ricipes on the Clovegarden site. These are fully unripe papayas. The seeds within are still mostly white and the flesh is a very pale green. Green papayas are widely available in markets serving Southeast Asian communities, particularly Filipino. For details see our Papayas page.
  2. Fruit Mix:   Weight is after preparation. Use firm sweet and tart fruit such as Apples, Pears, Pineapple, Green Mango and Persimmon (Fuyu only, not Hachia).
  3. Thai Chili:   Red or Green can be used. Two chilis makes it decently spicy by Southern California standards. If you're uncertain you may want to cut it back to 1. Fresh de Arbols are the best substitute. Serranos can be used but cut the quantity in half because, though not as hot, they're much larger. For details see our Chili Page.
  4. Key Lime:   These are very small, thin skinned Limes. They are pretty available in North America due to their use in Key Lime Pie.
  5. Palm Sugar:   This flavorful sugar can be found in any market catering to a Southeast Asian community, and in some Indian markets. If you don't have it, use an amber sugar like Turbinado.
  6. Fish Sauce:   This is an absolutely essential ingredient for Southeast Asian cuisines. If you are unfamiliar with it, see our Fish Sauce - Introduction page.
  7. Method   Traditionally a large fired clay mortar with a wood pestle is used to make this salad. The pounding is not straight up and down, but rather at the upper edge of the contents, bruising it against the side of the mortar. A spoon is used to continuously bring ingredients up from the bottom to where the pestle strikes. For details see our Mortar & Pestle page. If you don't have one of these, you will have to improvise, probably pounding the individual ingredients in smaller batches and then mixing all. You can spread ingredients out on your cutting board and pound them with your kitchen mallet.
  8. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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