Papaya Salad (Som Tum) by Alby Bounlutay

Hey everyone! This is Alby, the historian here at TSDA. This is a recipe that I recreated with the help of my parents. I wanted to give a quick background on the recipe before jumping into how to create this dish.

Papaya salad (or Som Tum in our native language) is normally made with fermented fish. I decide to omit this because not only is it hard to find in the U.S., but it also contains a ridiculous amount of sodium. The fish sauce has been reduced. The reason for cutting the sodium is because we know eating foods high in sodium will lead to hypertension!

The dish is made using a Kruk Thai (Thai mortar and pestle) but can be made with any mortar and pestle. The important part is to make sure the garlic and chili pepper is ground well. The rest of the ingredients are lightly smashed because we are not trying to make a paste

This recipe is more Thai style (my parents are originally from Laos, the neighboring country). Thai papaya salad includes dried shrimp and roasted peanuts which I included in this recipe for extra protein and healthy fats.  The dish is traditionally served with sticky rice and pork rinds, but it goes well with any grilled meats. I hope you all enjoy it!


  • 1 – clove of garlic
  • 2 – Thai chili pepper (or to prefer spiciness)
  • ½ cup – long bean
  • ¼ cup – dried shrimp
  • ½ cup – halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsp – unsalted roasted peanuts (I made these myself for better flavor)
  • 1 ½ cup – shredded papaya (unripe)
  • 1 tsp – fish sauce
  • ½ – lime (juiced)


  1. Add garlic and peppers to mortar and pestle and grind well
  2. Add long bean. Smash well
  3. Add dried shrimp, cherry tomatoes, and peanuts. Lightly smash
  4. Add sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and papaya. Lightly smashed and mix well
  5. Plate and serve

Published by texasdieteticstudents

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