Friday, January 9, 2009

Som Tam/Som Tum (Thai Green Papaya Salad)

EatingAsia has inspired me to purge my collection of cookbooks/food magazines. You see, my idea of bedtime reading is either a cookbook or a food magazine. Over the years I have accumulated quite a collection as a consequence.

During this purging I stumbled upon a Thai cookery book (Lemongrass & Sweet Basil by Khamtane Signavong) that I bought about a year ago but never read/used. In it was a recipe for Som Tam/Som Tum (Thai Green Papaya Salad) that I’ve been meaning to try to prepare at home.

I was never fond of ripe papaya. I find its green papaya more appealing and full of potential. There's the traditional Filipino green papaya pickle called achara. It is also the preferred ingredient for tinola rather than sayote. And no adobo sa gata (San Pablo, Laguna version using duck or water buffalo meat) would be complete without this versatile ingredient.

Anyway, before I get sidetracked, the focus of this post is Som Tam/Som Tum which I made for the first time a few nights ago. Green papaya is quite difficult to source Down under but thankfully my parents have couple of trees bursting with fruit in their tiny garden. The other ingredients needed for this dish are readily available in the typical Pinoy pantry.

This salad is good as an entree or as a side dish. For dinner that night we had it with lechon kawali (roast pork).

Som Tam/Som Tum - Green Papaya Salad (Lemongrass & Sweet basil – Khamtane Signavong)

3 cloves garlic
3 bird’s eye chillies
30g roasted peanuts
30g dried shrimps
8 cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons palm sugar
4 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
250g sliced green papaya
4 snake beans

1. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic, chillies, peanuts and dried shrimps to a fine paste.
2. Mix the paste with the cherry tomatoes, fish sauce, palm sugar and lime juice.
3. Mix well then add the green beans and papaya. Stir to mix without breaking up the papaya.

4. Serve with some grilled or barbequed meat or fish.

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