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Thai papaya salad in on plate with rice and vegetables on the side.

Thai green papaya salad recipe (Som Tum) 

  • Author: Suwanee
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Low Fat


The Thai green papaya salad recipe (Som Tum) is a highly flavorful salad made from green unripe papaya lightly pounded with garlic, Thai chilies, tomatoes, and green beans. The sweet, tangy, and sour taste comes from fresh lime juice, fish sauce, and palm sugar. It's one tasty and healthy salad that comes out of Thai food!


  • 2  cloves fresh garlic, skin peels, and leave whole
  • 2-8 Thai chilis, as needed for personal spice level
  • 3/4  cups green beans, chopped 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 Thai eggplant chopped thin 1/2 inch in size (optional)
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar or tablespoons brown or white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried shrimp  
  • 1.5 tablespoons tamarind sauce
  •  2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 slices of lime 1/4 inch each, squeeze the juice, then add the wedges to the mortar for more flavor.
  • 2 cups shredded green papaya
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup unsalted peanuts, whole nuts, not crushed


  1. Prepare the green papaya. Wash, and pat dry with paper towels. You can cut the peeled papaya in half before peeling it if it's easier to grip the fruit with your fingers. Peel the skin off of the papaya with a sharp knife.
  2. Rinse the papaya again with cold water as sticky saps will ooze from the peeled papaya skin. Pat dry, then peel the raw papaya into small pieces with the kiwi peeler. Place the peeled papaya slices into a large bowl of ice water to keep them fresh and crunchy for the pounding. Save the rest of the papaya for more salads for the next few days.
  3. Add garlic and chilis in a large mortar and pestle. Lightly pound the garlic and chilis. Do not turn it into a paste. Also, have a large spoon ready to scrape and flip the ingredients alongside the wooden mortar.
  4. Add the green beans, Thai eggplants, and peanuts. Pound until bruised but not crushed.
  5. Add the sliced tomatoes, palm sugar, tamarind sauce, fish sauce, and lime juice. Add the squeezed lime wedges to the mortar, adding a lightly bitter lime zest flavor to the salad. Use the spoon often to scrape, scoop and stir all the ingredients for an even mixing.
  6. Add the shredded papaya, shredded carrot, and dried shrimp.  Pound everything together well using a large spoon to stir and mix the ingredients in the mortar.
  7. Taste the finished salad and adjust with more sugar, lime juice, or fish sauce until you get the best taste for your salad.  Use the spoon to scoop and turn the salad in the mortar before serving. Sprinkle crushed peanuts on top before place in a serving plate.  That’s it! Enjoy!


  • Thai papaya salad is best enjoyed immediately while all the flavors are still fresh. I do not recommend having any leftovers at all! (: Well, you won't want to anyway, trust me.
  • Green papaya comes in various sizes, and you'll most likely have leftover green papaya to make a few more salads. Partially peel the skin off for each salad to help keep the papaya fresh and crunchy for your next salad.
  • The finer you pound your chiles in the mortar, the spicier your salad will be. More of the oils get released and make your salad extra spicy!
  • Pound the peanuts with chiles and garlic for a nutty and creamy texture.
  • If you don't have sticky rice, use jasmine rice. If you avoid carbs, eat the salad as your main course and use leafy greens like romaine lettuce, cabbage, or butter lettuce as a salad wrap.

* Thank you so much for visiting my blog! This is truly a passion for me. If you have enjoyed these recipes and appreciate the hard work I put into them, I would love it if you would share them with your friends! Your recommendation is the highest review I could hope for, and I’d appreciate it! **

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Category: Salads
  • Method: Pounding
  • Cuisine: Thai

Keywords: Thai papaya salad recipe, Thai papaya salad, Green Papaya salad, Thai Green papaya salad, Som Tum Thai, Som Tom,