Easy Papaya Salad
Papaya Salad or Som Tum (sometimes spelled as Som Tam) is a classic Thai salad. I had the first authentic taste of it in a town called Hat Yai, Thailand.
Som Tum is the epitome of Thai cuisine: perfect blends of hot, sour, salty, and sweet.
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Main Ingredients for Thai Papaya Salad
- Green Papaya
- Red Thai bird’s eye chilies
- Roasted Peanuts
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Thai Palm Sugar
- Lime Juice
What Is Green Papaya?
Green papaya is essentially unripe papaya. The texture of green papaya is firm and crisp, making it perfect for a salad recipe.
The taste is pretty mild, almost like a cucumber. It’s also slightly sweet.
Where do you buy green papaya? You can buy whole green papaya and shredded green papaya from Asian supermarkets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Green Papaya Salad Good for You?
Yes, this recipe is healthy and good for you because papaya is filled with nutrients, making it a great source of vitamins as well as healthy fiber. It is also full of enzymes that boost digestive health.
This unripe green papaya is actually even healthier, as it contains even more of its natural enzymes.
Is This Vegetarian Green Papaya Salad?
This specific recipe is not vegetarian, due to the use of dried shrimp and fish sauce. However, it is easily made into a vegetarian or even vegan dish if you take out these two ingredients.
How Long Will Shredded Green Papaya Last?
This recipe will be good to eat for up to two weeks, if you freeze it in the refrigerator. Feel free to stock up on green papaya and eat this delicious and healthy recipe!
How Many Calories per Serving?
This salad is extremely light, with only 209 calories per serving.
What Dishes to Serve with This Recipe?
This meal is best served with Thai entrees. For a wholesome Thai meal and easy weeknight dinner, I recommend the following recipes.
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Green Papaya Salad
Thai green papaya salad – the best salad ever with shredded green papaya, long beans and tomatoes. So yummy!
- 1 clove garlic
- 1-2 red Thai bird's eye chilies
- 2 tablespoons dried shrimp
- Thai palm sugar to taste
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
- 6 oz. green papaya strands
- 6 cherry tomatoes I used grape tomatoes
- 1/3 cup long green beans cut into 1-inch lengths
- fresh lime juice to taste
- fish sauce to taste
1Pound the garlic and bird's eye chilies until they form a smooth paste.
2Add the dried shrimp and pound until the pieces are broken up, but not completely pulverized.
3Add the palm sugar (cut into small pieces), maybe 2-3 teaspoons at first. More more to taste later.
4Add the peanuts and lightly pound until they are broken into tiny pieces, but not to the point where they form a thick paste.
5Add the green beans and crush them with the mortar until they're splitting and lightly bruised.
6Add the papaya and tomatoes and pound on them to bruise them. You want to crush the tomatoes so they release their juices and give their flavor and color.
7Add a couple of teaspoons of fish sauce and a couple of teaspoons of lime juice to the mix.
8Have in one hand a large spoon to help flip things over in and scrape down the sides of the mortar while your other hand pounds away with the pestle.
9Keep pounding and flipping for a few seconds, add more fish sauce, lime juice, or palm sugar as needed.
10Dish out and serve immediately.
Hi! I was browsing the internet for a papaya salad recipe and so thankful I found yours :) Thank you for simplifying the directions!
You always have such fun recipe ideas! Cross-cultural. Growing up with a Japanese mother was very entertaining and fascinating! She never measured anything, nor do I ever. Even when it came to baking, she used her cupped hand as a measuring cup. Everything she baked was always perfect. As a kid, I just marveled at what came out of my mother’s kitchen! So, occasionally, she’d let my dad cook. Not always the best…sorry, Dad. When she first moved to the US she had to “learn” to cook American food with the help of a Betty Crocker cookbook. Again, still no measuring. But she managed to make meatloaf, pot roast, “spaghetti,” and more. She always made rice daily, though. When she made “spaghetti,” she didn’t eat the pasta…she always had rice. When Asia food became more mainstream, she was a fan of Thai, Korean, Chinese, and more. She really liked spicy foods.
So today I decided to make a green papaya salad this time more like a Japanese-styled salad. I shredded the papaya and tossed it with salt to draw the water out (think cucumbers). I think the papaya should still be crisp and when I add the other ingredients like hot basil, Thai chile, maybe some daikon, green onion or chives, etc. it will be a flavorful salad. I might use some coconut milk. Green papaya is so versatile and there are so many variations of green papaya salad.
Btw, I like papaya seeds. From the ripe or from the green. Ripe seeds toasted I use like peppercorns and the immature seeds I toss with flesh in salt, let marinate and then add an acid like vinegar or citrus. The seeds have a unique flavor, slightly bitter and maybe a bit spicy but for me, all in a good way.
Bee, thanks for your postings!
This will be ,I’m sure, a very stupid question: is green papaya an under ripe papaya or is green papaya a different fruit? I live in Canada and we get papayas here but how do you tell how ripe or how under ripe the fruit is? I live in Vancouver and have access to a few Asian markets which I find hard to negotiate because of the Asian labeling. Any hints? Thank you for considering this request! I love your site!
Unripe papaya. Green papaya is green on the outside and the inside is also green. See the pictures as the papaya strands are green. You don’t have to negotiate at Asian stores, just take what you need and pay. :)
The first time we tried this was at Pok Pok in Portland OR – before he expanded. It was great! I found your blog a while back, first dish I made was the spicy basil chicken – my husband loved it so much he asked for it at least once a week for a year! When I saw you had a recipe for papaya salad I knew I couldn’t go wrong…it is so good, fresh, spicy (we add extra chilis), a perfect summer dish. Thank you for providing such great recipes to satisfy our cravings!!! I have tried and loved many of your recipes. My husband has 3 favorite requests now: spicy basil chicken, kung pao chicken and green papaya salad. Unfortunately he likes them so much I don’t get to go out for Thai/Chinese food as much! However, when he comes home and finds papaya salad I can pretty much get whatever I want :) I have meant to comment for couple of years now so here it is all wrapped up in one comment. Thanks again for your recipes, I always look to your posts for inspiration for dinner….especially when I want to impress guests!
Hi Shannon, thanks so much for your sweet comment. I am so happy that you love my green papaya salad and other recipes. I appreciate your support. :)
Any help with where or what to be looking for for some of these ingredients? Specifically the chills, sugar, dried shrimp. I live in the NW.
Can dried shrimps be eaten without cooking them? Or you need to roast them before use?
You can eat them as is.