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How to Make Som Tum: Thai Papaya Salad

Som Tum Recipe: Thai Papaya Salad | ส้มตำ

  • Total Time: 25 minutes


You love Som Tum, but have you ever made it at home? Try making Thai Papaya Salad in your own kitchen using this recipe! It’s easier than you think!


  • 23 c. of unripe green papaya
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 c. long bean or green beans cut into 2 in. pieces
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 36 thai chilies (depending on spicy tolerance)
  • fresh lime juice from 2-4 limes
  • 1.52 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 11.5 tbsp. sugar or palm sugar
  • handful of peanuts
  • 1/2 c of tiny dried shrimp (optional)
  • 23 servings of shrimp (optional)


  1. Peel the dark green skin off your papaya. Peel* the papaya into shoestring-like strips.
  2. In your mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and chilies until in small pieces and fragrant. Add in the long beans, lime, fish sauce and sugar to taste.
  3. Pound the beans until they have softened some, but still hold their shape, and then add in the papaya, tomatoes, peanuts and, if using, tiny dried shrimp. I like to use a spoon to scoop up the ingredients on the bottom to get them to the top when pounding. Just pound until the papaya is softened and everything is mixed up.
  4. Add more fish sauce, lime and sugar to taste. I like to have lime as the leading flavor with a savory, slight sweetness backing it up.
  5. If you are using shrimp, boil them for about 30 seconds until cooked and then mix them up into the dish at the end.
  6. Enjoy!!


You can find unripe, green papaya at the Asian market. Never make it with ripe papaya because it would be really weird and not work.

*The easiest way to peel a green papaya is to order a Kom Kom Miracle Knife, which my Thai hairdresser let me use, and it worked wonders.

But we didn’t have ours yet when I made this, so Dom used an old school Thai method to peel the papaya which is knocking it with a knife to make indentations, and then shredding it off.

If he hadn’t been there, I would have used just a vegetable peeler or tried a cheese grater, but it won’t be the exact consistency of traditional som tum, but still delicious!

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • Serving Size: 3-4