Som Tam – Thai salad

In my early twenties I taught English in Thailand, and I ate absolutely heaps of this salad – these were flavours I’d never encountered before, and I couldn’t get enough of them. I can’t say that this is a particularly authentic recipe because the likelihood of sourcing green papaya or dried shrimp where I live is virtually nada, but still this salad is something I love. It livens up some sticky rice and grilled chicken no end. Feel free to scale up the heat with acres more chilli – chopped fresh chilli pounded into the garlic & sugar in a pestle & mortar would be a better way to start the dressing, but for a mid week dinner using flakes is heaps easier. This’ll feed 2 or so.



A big handful of green beans

A small wedge of cabbage

6 cherry tomatoes

1 large carrot

2 tbsp peanuts


2 tbsp palm sugar

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp lime juice

A big pinch of chilli flakes

2 small garlic cloves


  1. Finely shred the cabbage & either grate the carrot or use a julienne peeler to produce fine strips.
  2. Blanche the green beans in boiling water (you want to retain a little bit of bite) and refresh them under cold water.
  3. Chop the tomatoes into quarters, then mix all the veg together in your serving bowl.
  4. Mince the garlic cloves, and stir together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
  5. Just as you’re about to serve the salad, pour over the dressing and toss well.
  6. Chop the peanuts roughly and scatter on top.
  7. Invariably the dressing sinks to the bottom of the bowl, but just spoon it over the salad and everything else that you’re eating, you won’t regret it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s