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How to Make Papaya Salad – An Authentic Papaya Salad (Recipe Guide)

How to Make Papaya Salad – An Authentic Papaya Salad (Recipe Guide)

Our full recipe guide on how to make Papaya Salad, one of the most popular dishes in Thailand. Have you ever tasted or heard about it?

Papaya salad, known as “Som Tam” in Thai cuisine, is a vibrant, spicy, and tangy dish that’s a staple in Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand and Laos. It’s made primarily from shredded green papaya and is popular for its delightful mix of flavors. Here’s how you can make an authentic Thai papaya salad.

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How to Make Papaya Salad

Papaya Salad Recipe Ingredients

How to Make Papaya Salad – An Authentic Papaya Salad (Recipe Guide)

1 small green papaya (about 1-2 pounds)
2-4 Thai chili peppers (adjust based on your heat tolerance)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons dried shrimp (optional)
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1-2 tablespoons palm sugar (or substitute with brown sugar)
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons tamarind juice (if available)
1-2 long beans or green beans

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Step By Step How to Make Papaya Salad

Step 1 – Prepare the Papaya

Peel the green papaya and rinse under cold water. Use a julienne peeler to shred the papaya into thin strips. If you don’t have a julienne peeler, you can grate it or thinly slice it into matchsticks. Place the shredded papaya in a bowl of cold water to keep it crisp, then drain when ready to use.

How to Make Papaya Salad – An Authentic Papaya Salad (Recipe Guide)

Step 2 – Make the Dressing

Pound Garlic and Chilies: In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and chilies to a coarse paste. You can adjust the amount of chilies based on how spicy you like your salad. Add the long beans and gently pound to bruise them so they absorb the dressing. Add the fish sauce, palm sugar, lime juice, and tamarind juice. Pound and stir to mix well and dissolve the sugar.

Step 3 – Combine the Salad

Add the shredded papaya and cherry tomatoes to the mortar (or transfer everything to a larger mixing bowl if necessary). Use the pestle and a spoon to mix and pound the salad gently. The goal is to combine all the flavors and slightly bruise the papaya and tomatoes so they soak up the dressing. Add the roasted peanuts and dried shrimp. Mix gently to distribute evenly throughout the salad.

How to Make Papaya Salad – An Authentic Papaya Salad (Recipe Guide)

Step 4 – Serve
Taste and Adjust: Taste your papaya salad and adjust the seasoning if necessary. It should be a harmonious balance of sour, sweet, salty, and spicy. Serve the salad immediately on a plate or in a bowl, garnished with extra peanuts.

How to Make Papaya Salad – An Authentic Papaya Salad (Recipe Guide)

Tips for Making Papaya Salad

The key to a great papaya salad is balance. Each ingredient should complement the others, with no single flavor overwhelming the rest. Papaya salad is often served as part of a larger meal including sticky rice and grilled meats or fish.
There are many regional variations of this dish. In Laos, for example, a similar dish called “Tam Mak Hoong” might include ingredients like eggplant and use more fish sauce and chili.

How Many Calories Has A Papaya Salad

One cup of green papaya has about 40 calories, Cherry Tomatoes has 15 calories, Dried Shrimp adds around 30 calories, Roasted Peanuts is around 207 calories and Palm Sugar is about 30-40 calories per tablespoon.

A single serving of papaya salad could range from approximately 150 to 350 calories.

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