Contributing Monkie Vanessa Sherwood
Published on October 25, 2008
Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) (raw)
This salad is why I trek (well really I drive) 30 miles to the Thai/Vietnamese market on the north side of Chicago to get my supply of green papaya. Green papaya, as well as green mango, is used in abundance in Asian food preparation. The dressing for the salad is both sweet and spicy which I find very addictive!
Green Papaya is known to have an abundance of the enzyme Papain that breaks down protein which in turn aids digestion. As the fruit ripens, the enzyme content decreases, so you are doing your body good by eating the unripe fruit.
The Thai/Vietnamese markets are also a great place to pick up fresh bean sprouts, long beans, and tamarind. You can also pick up a relatively cheap mortar and pestle to make it the traditional way.
Serves about 4
For the salad:
1 Green Papaya, shredded
1 Cup Bean Sprouts
1 Cup Long Beans
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1/4 Cup Peanuts (roasted or raw, optional)
To make the tamarind juice, soak some tamarind pulp (available in most Asian markets) with some water. Put the pulp and the water in a blender on the lowest speed to break it up a little. Strain in a fine meshed strainer. You will probably need to push it through the strainer with the aid of a spoon.
Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, Thai chile, and ginger together. Add the remaining ingredients. Set the dressing aside in a small bowl.
For the dressing:
1 Clove Garlic
1-2 Thai Chilies (to your taste)
1/2 Teaspoon Ginger, minced
1/4 Cup Tamarind Juice
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Nama Shoyu (Soy Sauce)
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
There are several options when it comes to shredding the papaya. I have a Cuisinart and I use the fine shredder attachment to shred my papaya. There is also this nifty little tool that is sold in some Thai and Vietnamese markets that they use to shred papaya. One word of caution, if the shreds are too thick, the salad might be a bit tough. In this case, you might want to soften the papaya up by sprinkling some salt and lime juice on it and crushing it a little in the mortar and pestle. Add the remaining ingredients and toss with the dressing. The peanuts are optional- I only added them because at most Thai restaurants that I’ve been to, they serve their Som Tum with plain roasted peanuts.