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Papaya Salad with fermented crab (Som Tam Poo)

Green papaya salad is a Northeastern Thai / Lao / Cambodian spicy salad made from shredded unripe papaya. Locally known as som tam. it was listed on World's most delicious Thai foods.

The dish combines the four main tastes of the local cuisine: sour lime, hot chili, salty, savory fish sauce, and sweetness added by palm sugar. The ingredients are mixed and pounded in a mortar; the Thai name som tam literally translates as "sour pounded".

Despite the use of papaya, which one may think of as sweet, this salad is actually savory. When not yet ripe, papaya has a slightly tangy flavor. The texture is crisp and firm, sometimes to the point of crunchiness. It is this that allows the fruit to withstand being beaten in the mortar.

In Thailand, it is customary that a customer ask the preparer to make the dish suited to his or her tastes. To specifically refer to the dish as prepared traditionally in Laos or Isan.

Traditionally the local variety of Som Tam in the streets of Bangkok is very hot due to the addition of a fistfull of chopped hot Thai Chili, however with its rising popularity among tourists, it is often served now not as hot.

Although papaya salad is claimed as an innovation of the Lao people, variations of the dish are found throughout Laos, Thailand and Cambodia, as well as in the West, where it is more commonly known by its Thai name.

The Central Thai version (som tam Thai) tends to be mild in comparison and much sweeter; it often contains crushed peanuts. There are many versions of this salad but it will always include unripe papaya.

Today my pressure to present "Thai papaya salad with fermented crab (Som Tam Poo) see what to make!!

  • 2 cups raw papaya, shredded
  • 3 Fresh bird's eye chili peppers,
  • 4 tbsp unsalted, toasted peanuts, coarsely ground
  • 5-6 tsp dry shrimps,
  • 1 Sea crab (if you like) In Thailand we use salted crab.
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • To make the dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  • Grate the carrots or any of the vegetables mentioned above, rinse in cold water and drain well.
  • Toss the salad with the salad dressing adding the creshed bird's eye chili peppers should your salad spicy. 
  • Add a teaspoon of the peanuts and ground shrimps and toss thoroughly.
  • Taste and plate the salad and garnish with ground peanuts and ground shrimps.
  • It is recommended that once this salad is tossed it should be eaten immediately since Thai salad dressings do not have oils which help salads stay fresh longer.
  • For westerner I suggestion try to use only 1 fresh chilli at first and you can try more next time.
  • Do you know that the flesh and oil from papaya is used to make meat tenderizers? NO wonder it helps your digestion.


Mr. Rush said…
Oh my gosh, I have hit the mother load! This is a wonderful recipe on a wonderful site created by a wonderful person.
Bentoist said…
So it wasn't soft-shell crab. Any idea how I can get salted crab? I love to make some. Whenever I visit Bangkok, this is the dish I order almost every meal.
Tan.wiratchada said…
Thank you very much for sweet comment Gerald.
Your comment not same taste as my dish hehehe...

Hi bentoist,
Thank you for stopping in with nice comment. Next I will try to posted unpromote dish for real Thai for you. Hope you can get something new in the future...

Warmest Regards,
Anonymous said…
i had the pleasure of staying in The Gren House Homestay. Being a stricy Vegetarian i satill had a wonderfull time enjoying all the delicious Veg Thai home cooked dishes!! the Mango salad!! 2 diffrent reciepes!! in the afternoon Sticky rive with cold ripe mango!1 MmMmmm "!!! delicous itwas wonderfull the food that you will never taste or get in a resturant > and the hospitality!! cant describe!! 5 days were great
Tan Thnks

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