Tum mahk hoong is a famous Lao recipe. Everyone likes it. Normally, if you go to a Lao household for breakfast, lunch or dinner, one of the dishes will be pawpaw salad.




Skill level

Average: 3.6 (20 votes)


  • 1 green pawpaw
  • 10 bird's eye chillies
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp shrimp paste (see Note)
  • ¼ tsp crab paste (see Note)
  • 10 sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 3 snake beans, sliced into 3cm pieces
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp padaek (see Note)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

To serve

  • raw cabbage wedges
  • pork skin crackers (see Note)
  • lemon wedges

Cook's notes

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.


Peel and rinse the pawpaw, then finely shred using a mandolin. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the chillies, garlic and salt together. Stir in the shrimp paste and crab paste, then add pawpaw, cherry tomatoes, snake beans, lime juice, fish sauce, padaek and sugar. Using the pestle, mix thoroughly. Serve with raw cabbage wedges, pork skin crackers and lemon wedges.



• Padaek (Lao fermented fish sauce) is a pungent pickled fish condiment. Substitute with extra fish sauce, if desired. Padaek, shrimp paste, crab paste and pork skin crackers are available from Asian food shops.


Photography by Tom Donald


As seen in Feast magazine, Mar 2014, Issue 29. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.