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Green Papaya Salad

  • Author: Angus An
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 persons 1x
  • Category: appetizer, salad
  • Method: Raw, Toss
  • Cuisine: Thai


GREEN PAPAYA SALAD IS, by far, the most popular dish among Thai people. It’s most commonly portioned for one person, but is also easily shared as an appetizer between two or three. The simplicity, robust flavours, sharpness, and balance of this salad make it a perfect ambassador for Thai cuisine, and it highlights the full spectrum of Thai flavours: hot, sour, sweet, and salty. There are countless regional variants of this dish, but this is the classic version, also known as som dtam thai.


  • 2-3 red Thai bird’s eye chilies 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Pinch of coarse sea salt 2 Tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 Tbsp dried prawns
  • 1 Tbsp roasted peanuts, skinned
  • 1 Tbsp Tamarind Water (page 233)
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice Fish sauce, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded green papaya
  • 1/8 cup sliced long beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved 2 Tbsp shredded carrot



  1. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the chilies and garlic together into a fine paste, using a pinch of salt as an abrasive. Add the palm sugar, dried prawns, and roasted peanuts, and pound everything together until it becomes a coarse paste. Add the tamarind water, lime juice, and fish sauce to complete the dressing, and stir with the pestle until fully incorporated.
  2. Add the green papaya, long beans, cherry tomatoes, and carrot and pound lightly to bruise and soften them so they can absorb the dressing, then toss to combine with the paste. Alternatively, if your mortar and pestle isn’t large enough to handle all the ingredients, you can use a pestle with a large mixing bowl for the vegetables. The finished salad should taste sour, salty, lightly sweet, and hot.



  • It’s common for most Thai kitchens to have more than one kind of mortar and pestle. For this recipe, look for a clay mortar with a wooden pestle or a wooden mortar and pestle combination. They’re commonly used by Thai street vendors specifically for making green papaya salad, and they prevent you from overpounding the vegetables while still bruising them enough to absorb the dressing.

Keywords: Green Papaya Salad, Thai Salad, asian cooking, thai food, maenam, vancouver, maenam cookbook, angus an

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