Recipe courtesy of Brad Kelley

SOM TAM (Green Papaya Salad)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 35 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings as a side, 2 as a main
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6 fresh kii noo chiles, whole, or 2 fresh Serrano chilies, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon coarsely chopped shallot

1 small hard, green unripe papaya, peeled and finely shredded (about 2 cups)

9 green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths

1 teaspoon palm sugar or granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1/4 lime, quartered

1 plum tomato, quartered

Sticky rice, for serving


  1. Combine chilies, garlic and shallots. Grind and pound with a mortar and pestle until broken down, but not mushy. Using a spoon, scrape down sides and mix well. Add papaya, pound until the stiff shreds become limp and soft (about 3 minutes). Using a spoon, scrape and turn the mixture. Add beans and pound to bruise them. Add sugar, salt and fish sauce one at a time, pounding a little after each addition. Squeeze in the juice from each section of lime, then add the lime pieces to the mortar as well. Add tomato, pound another minute, turning mixture as before. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings, which should be a mixture of sour, hot, salty and sweet. Using a slotted spoon, transfer salad to a small platter. Drizzle on some remaining sauce and serve with sticky rice.

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