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Thai Green Papaya Salad – Som Tum – is a popular Thai salad with crunchy green papaya, peanuts, and a tangy sweet-sour dressing! Learn how to make it with lots of step-by-step pictures.

thai green papaya salad in a bowl
Table of Contents

Papaya Salad, called Som Tum in Thai, is one of the most popular and well-known Thai salads. Clearly deserved, as it represents one of the best flavors of Thailand. Thai green papaya salad is a very fresh, crunchy, tangy, healthy, and slightly sour salad that can be enjoyed daily as an appetizer or side dish!

vegetarian green papaya salad with peanuts

It gets its name from its main ingredient, green papaya. Unripe, meaning green, papaya makes an excellent salad ingredient. Shredded green papaya is almost neutral in flavor and slightly crunchy. Similar to an English cucumber, but somewhat less watery.

Thai Papaya salad is rather quick and easy to prepare. What helps is having a mortar and julienne peeler at hand.

The authentic papaya salad recipe is made with shrimp paste or dried shrimp and fish sauce. In this recipe, you will learn how to make a vegetarian/vegan green papaya salad that tastes just as delicious and intense as the original.

How to eat papaya salad? Serve it as a salad, appetizer, or a side dish with sticky rice, or a protein of your choice. To feel like you are in Thailand, use chopsticks to devour this delicious Som Tam Salad! 😉

Where did papaya salad originate from? Papaya salad originates from Laos, but is widely popular throughout the mainland of Southeast Asia (signature dishes of Vietnam & Cambodia). The Thai version of papaya salad is the most famous one!

macro shot of thai papaya salad

🥒 Papaya Salad without Papaya

Green, unripe papaya can often only be found in Asian Shops/Markets and are relatively expensive. However, you can replace the green papaya with 1-2 English cucumbers if you don’t have an Asia Shop nearby.

The taste of the salad is not identical to the original if using cucumbers, but it’s a proper alternative. So you don’t have to miss out on this delicious Thai salad.

🛒 Ingredients

See recipe card for quantities.

Papaya Salad Ingredients
  • Thai Green Papaya You can get green papaya at the Asian Market. Slice it with a julienne peeler for the authentic papaya salad shape. The green seeds aren’t edible.
  • Thai Long Beans Extremely long Thai green beans. Available at the Asian Market. Can be omitted.
  • Carrot & Cherry Tomatoes
  • Peanuts → A must in Thai salads. Provide a nice crunch!
  • Garlic, Thai Chili Pepper, Fresh Lime Juice, Soy Sauce, Sugar → These are the dressing ingredients. If you don’t like your salad spicy, omit the chili peppers or reduce to only one. The garlic also infuses some heat in the dressing. Palm sugar is what’s used in Thailand to make the authentic Thai green papaya salad recipe, but brown or white sugar works too.

👩‍🍳 Visual Step-by-Step Instructions

This visual step-by-step instruction will help you along the way – definitely recommended if you’re a cooking beginner! 😉

  • Place garlic cloves and chilies in a mortar and pound into a paste. Add brown sugar and Thai long beans, pound again until the sugar is dissolved. Add tomatoes and gently pound. → You can work in batches if your mortar is too small.
Papaya Salad Recipe Step 1-3
  • Peel using a vegetable peeler, then cut green papaya and carrot in julienne strips using a julienne peeler.
Papaya Salad Recipe Step 4-5
  • Place green papaya and carrot along with the pounded ingredients, lime juice, soy sauce, and half of the crushed peanuts in a large bowl. Toss to combine. → What I learned in Thailand is to pound all ingredients with the pestle in one hand while tossing the ingredients with a spoon in the other hand for about one minute.
Papaya Salad Recipe Step 6-7
  • Serve in a large bowl and sprinkle with the remaining peanuts.
vegan green papaya salad in a bowl

🫙 Storage Instructions

Store leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge. Keeps fresh for one day.

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📖 Recipe

thai green papaya salad in a bowl

Thai Green Papaya Salad

Thai Green Papaya Salad – Som Tum – is a popular Thai salad with crunchy green papaya, peanuts, and a tangy sweet-sour dressing!
Author : Aline Cueni
5 from 2 votes

Click on the stars to leave a vote!

Cook Time :12 minutes
Total Time :12 minutes
Servings : 4
Calories : 136kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Thai chilies seeded for less spicy
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 6 (75 g) Thai long beans cut into 2-inch/5 cm pieces (Note 1)
  • 5 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 pound (450 g) green papaya (Note 2)
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ cup (35 g) unsalted peanuts crushed in a mortar

Instructions
 

  • Place garlic and chilies in a mortar and pound into a paste. Add brown sugar and Thai long beans, pound again until the sugar is dissolved. Add tomatoes and gently pound. → You can work in batches if your mortar is too small.
  • Peel, then cut green papaya and carrot in julienne strips using a julienne peeler.
  • Place green papaya and carrot along with the pounded ingredients, lime juice, soy sauce, and half of the crushed peanuts in a large bowl. Toss to combine. → What I learned in Thailand is to pound all ingredients with the pestle in one hand while tossing the ingredients with a spoon in the other hand for about one minute.
  • Serve in a large bowl and sprinkle with the remaining peanuts.

Notes

  1. Thai Long Beans (Thai Green Beans) can be found at the Asian Market. Can be omitted or substituted with blanched green beans.
  2. Green Papaya is available in Asian Markets. Alternatively, substitute with 1-2 English cucumbers. The taste won’t be the same, but it’s a great way to not miss out on this delicious Thai salad, even if you can’t get your hands on green papaya.
  3. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Nutrition

Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 527mg | Potassium: 422mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 3807IU | Vitamin C: 82mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

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Recipe Rating




5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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2 Comments

  1. Hi, I’m Thai but have been living abroad half my life. You amazingly got all the essential ingredients right in this recipe for making Thai favorite dish. Just another option I like to make, adding chopped apples, canned pineapple, strawberries with stripped carrots as in this recipe and you’ll get a very refreshingly yummy fruit som tam dish. It goes with chilly and peanuts exactly as you have it here too!

    1. Hi Shari, I am so glad I got it right! 😁 I did learn how to make it from a Thai family in Chiang Mai! Thank you so much for your recipe suggestion, I will definitively try it. Sounds delicious with your suggested fruit! 💕