Som Tam or green papaya salad as it is better known outside of Thailand is along with Pad Thai probably the most popular Thai Food dishes served in restaurants worldwide.
The Thai words "Som Tam" literally means "sour pounded", this is a very popular spicy & sour salad, that is an exceptional addition to an Thai BBQ Chicken & Sticky Rice meal!!. The dish is also completely fat free, so it's great to eat if you are watching the calories! & is also ideal to help clear the "sinuses" - if you know what I mean!!
The dish is believed to have originated in Laos, but having crossed the border into north-eastern Thailand (Isaan), it has been firmly adopted as this provinces favorite dish, with most people in Isaan eating it at least once a day!
The very best places in the world to sample this delicious dish are the Thai Street Food vendors that can be found on every street corner in Thailand. They have generations of experience at making it and every different vendor has their own interpretation of it!
There are three main different versions of the dish in Thailand:
Thai - is the most common version outside of Thailand, has roasted peanuts added & is the mildest version. Bu - which has pickled crabs added into the dish. Lao - which has the juice of fermented fish in it, this is an acquired taste & also packs a fair "kick" and is not recommended to novice Thai food enthusiasts!.
Here's the Som Tam Thai recipe for you:
1 medium dark green papaya
6 garlic cloves (kratiem)
6 green/red Thai chillies (prik khee noo)
2 ripe tomatoes - cut into wedges
1/2 cup long thin green beans - chopped into 1"(2.5cm) lengths
2 tablespoons anchovy sauce
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 fl oz(60ml) lime juice or tamarind juice (ma-kaam piag)
2 Tablespoons small dried shrimps
1/4 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
* Peel the papaya and rinse with running water to remove the acid. Remove the seeds and shred the papaya with a grater & set aside.
* Place the garlic cloves and the chilies in a mortar and mash with a pestle until crushed into chunks.
* Place the papaya and the remaining ingredients in the mortar and gently combine all ingredients by mixing with the pestle and a spoon.
* Serve cold.
This dish is really simple to make, many people make different variations including adding Pla Ra(fermented fish), crab & thinly sliced carrot.
Its a dish that is easily adapted to personal tastes, go on, give it a try !
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