Som Tam recipe
Amongst the most famous Thai delicacies, which have won the heart of the world, Som Tam is ranked quite high. This is an utterly delicious green papaya salad, mixed with long beans, tomatoes, toasted peanuts, plenty of red chilies and what not! You can add a variety of other ingredients and make your own version, like Som Tam Thai (fish sauce and lime juice), Som Tam Boo (small leavened crabs), Som Tam Hoy Dong (leavened oysters) and Som Tam Pla Raa (the famous Thai leavened fish). Here is a recipe which you can make easily, wherever you are based. Let us see how it is made.
2 cups of green papaya, shredded
2 tbsp toasted peanuts
1 to 2 fresh Thai chili (can be added more as per individual taste)
2 peeled garlic cloves
½ piece of palm sugar
Juice of ½ lime
7 cherry tomatoes
1 to 2 tbsp Thai snake beans (or green beans), made into 1 inch flakes
1 ½ tbsp fish sauce
Crush a handful of roasted unsalted peanuts to a coarse powder, using a mortar and pestle. Keep aside. Clean the mortar and pestle.
Take palm sugar in a small pan and melt it on low to medium flame. Add 2 tbsp of water. It should end up in a thick shiny syrup. That way it mixes easily with the salad.
Peel the papaya, shred it to thin bits and soak in cold water, during which you can prepare for the remaining salad. Soaking makes papaya crunchy.
Make 1-inch pieces of green beans. Don’t use the endings.
Crush peeled garlic and chilies lightly in mortar. Don’t crush them to fine paste. Some bits and pieces should be there. Add crushed peanuts to these and mix well.
Add shredded papaya and keep on pounding, but lightly, just enough to let the mixture get soaked into flavors.
Add the palm sugar syrup, beans, tomatoes, fish sauce and lime juice. Keep on pounding lightly. If you cannot hold the mixture into the mortar, shift it to another pot and pound part by part, till all of it is done. Your yummy Som Tam is ready!
Take it in a large dish and sprinkle it with crushed peanuts.
In Thailand, Som Tam is served usually with sticky rice and another salad, named as Larb, a spicy salad of minced meat and raw veggies.
If you find it hard to get papaya in your area, you can use swede (aka rutabaga).
Vegans can avoid adding fish sauce.