Som tam is a Thai salad often made with green papaya or green mango, although any vegetable can be used. The key to a good som tam is to bruise the vegetables to release their juices into the dressing. This recipe uses pearl meat, but you could substitute scallops instead.
- 200 g pearl meat “ears”, halved
- 1 lime, halved
- 1 large Lebanese cucumber, peeled at intervals, seeds removed, shredded
- 1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
- 50 g (¼ cup) green beans, cut into 3 cm pieces
- 10 (½ punnet) cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts, lightly crushed
- 10 g palm sugar
- 1 lime, halved
- 1 tbsp fish sauce, or more to taste
- 1 garlic clove, bruised
- 2 bird’s eye chillies, thinly sliced
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.
Marinating time 10 minutes
Place the pearl meat into a large bowl, squeeze over the lime juice, and mix to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes or until slightly opaque and cooked.
Meanwhile, to make the dressing, place the palm sugar and lime juice into a mortar and pound with a pestle until combined and well balanced. Gradually stir in the fish sauce to taste. Add the garlic and chilli and pound until coarsely ground.
Place the cucumber, carrot, beans and tomatoes into the mortar and very gently bruise the ingredients with the pestle. Add the pearl meat and gently mix until well coated. Stir through the peanuts.
Serve the som tam as part of a shared meal.