Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

Classic Thai salad with shredded green papaya and vegetables in a spicy and tangy dressing.
Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

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Green papaya salad (Som Tum) is widely eaten in Thailand, the name referring to the sour flavors in the salad (som), and also the sound of it being pounded in a mortar (tum). It can be a little confusing as it sounds similar to Tom Yum, the famous Thai hot and sour soup, but obviously they are different.

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The papaya salad is often offered in American Thai restaurants, usually not as an entree, but this does make a delicious dinner, although it is not vegetarian due to the fish sauce. If you like something more substantial, you can always add something  like Lemongrass Grilled Shrimp to this.

It is also very nice served alongside other Thai dishes, from grilled fish to curry to noodles like pad thai.Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

Since I am posting a recipe for National Fruit and Vegetables month with Foodie Extravaganza, I thought this would be perfect since it has both. For me, this can be a perfect summer meal.

Although the green papaya doesn’t taste like the ripe papaya (or pawpaw) that you might be used to. It has a more vegetable nature, since it is green.

The Thai chilies in this are very spicy, especially at this time of year, so add them judiciously. They will be at their hottest between now and September. I was unfortunate enough to brush my eye with my hand today after chopping one. It wasn’t with this, but for another recipe I was making (Thai slaw) as I like to eat Asian foods frequently. The pepper left me exclaiming things I don’t dare type here. So it is also a good idea to use some of those plastic gloves (I keep a box under the kitchen sink that I bought at the pharmacy) and even with that, wash your hands vigorously afterwards with a soap that contains surfectants (like dishwashing liquid). Usually peppers don’t bother me, especially milder ones like poblanos or fresnos, and most jalapenos. But these were packing a punch.

Enjoy. Without incinerating your eyes as I did today. 😉


Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

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Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

Sue Lau
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Course Salad, Salad dressings
Cuisine Asian, Thai
Servings 4
Calories 119 kcal



  • 1 pound green papaya Malakor
  • 2 fresh Thai hot chiles
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup chopped long beans or fresh green beans
  • 1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts
  • 10 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Dressing (1/4 cup)

  • 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce nam pla
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or palm sugar


  • Peel papaya and remove seeds; shred using a box grater.
  • Pound the garlic and Thai chilis in a mortar until pasty, then toss with remaining ingredients, including mixed dressing.


From the kitchen of


Serving: 1gCalories: 119kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 3gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 389mgPotassium: 461mgFiber: 3gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 3302IUVitamin C: 91mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Foodie Extravaganza

National  Fruits and Vegetables Month

Hosted by Ellen Folkman of Family Around the Table

This month our group is sharing fruit and vegetable recipes. See all the blogger recipes below:

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Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month.

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6 responses

  1. When I was living in Hawaii there was a shop that sold this salad and delcious sandwiches too. I haven’t had this is a loooong time. Looks delicious!

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