Bowl of Green Papaya Salad #2
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Green Papaya Salad #2
  -   Som Tam Thai
1# 7oz  
45 min  
Green Papaya Salads are very popular in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. This crunchy and very flavorful version makes a great accompaniment to grilled meats, fish and the like. 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). For a fancier version, see Green Papaya Salad #1.



Papaya, green. (1)  
Thai Chili (2)
Dry Shrimp, small
Peppercorns, white
Lime Dice (3)
-- Dressing
Tamarind paste (4)
Palm sugar (5)
Lime Juice
Fish Sauce (6)
--- Garnish
Roasted Peanuts (opt)  
    - crushed.
Prep   -   (35 minutes)
  1. Prepare TAMARIND PASTE (if not using concentrate - See Note-4). 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. Slice CHILIS crosswise very thin and chop fine. Crush GARLIC and chop fine. Mix.
  4. Break up dried SHRIMP coarse to measure. Grind Peppercorns. Mix.
  5. Cut LIME DICE about 3/8 inch on a side.
Pounding   -   (10 min)
  1. In your clay mortar, pound Chili mix until well crushed (see Note-7).
  2. Add Dried Shrimp mix and pound to blend.
  3. Add Lime Dice: and pound just enough to release much of their juice.
  4. Add Green Papaya and Dressing mix. Pound until it is well bruised and the other ingredients are well distributed through it.
  5. 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. These are fully unripe papayas. The seeds within are still mostly white and the flesh is a very pale green. I have successfully used papayas that had some traces of pink blush at the center around fully black seeds. Green papayas are widely available in markets serving Southeast Asian communities, particularly Filipino. For details see our Papayas page.
  2. Thai Chili:   Red or Green can be used. In northern Thailand and Laos 6 or more chilis might be used, but 3 chilis makes it decently spicy by Southern California standards. If you're uncertain you may want to cut it back to 2. 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.
  3. Lime Dice:   These should be cut from small, thin skinned Key Limes, in which case the skin can be left on.
  4. Tamarind:   Soaking pulp from a block provides the best flavor. Use 3 T from the block, chop it, add hot water to just cover and let it sit 20 minutes or so. Force it through a wire strainer until only fibers remain. Second best is 3 T from a jar of concentrate. For details and method, see our Tamarind Page.
  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 very large 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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