A fresh mix of sweetness, citrus and salty this Thai salad is much-loved across the country to the extent that songs have been written in tribute to it!
- 1 tbsp dried shrimp
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4–5 red bird’s eye chillies
- 50 g (1¾ oz) snake (yard-long) beans, cut into 5 cm (2 in) lengths
- ½ tbsp roasted peanuts
- 20 g (¾ oz) palm sugar, melted (see Note)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 200 g (7 oz) green papaya, peeled and julienned
- cooked sticky rice, to serve (optional)
- grilled chicken , to serve (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Using a large mortar and pestle, coarsely pound the dried shrimp until they start to break apart. Add the garlic cloves and chillies and pound them into a coarse paste, then add the snake beans and peanuts, pounding them until the peanuts have been roughly broken up.
- Mix in the palm sugar using the pestle and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and cherry tomatoes and use both a pounding and stirring action to combine. Finally, add the green papaya, stirring and gently pounding all the ingredients to mix well.
- Check the som tum for seasoning; it should taste sweet, sour, salty and spicy. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve with warm sticky rice and grilled chicken, if desired.
• Before mixing palm sugar with any other ingredient, be sure to melt it by warming in a saucepan over low heat until it liquefies.
Recipe and images from Bangkok Local by Sareen Rojanametin and Jean Thamthanakorn, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99