Thai Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

*I guess I missed this video when Maangchi uploaded it to YT in December 2011. Enjoy!

Tanya has her own channel on YouTube! Visit her channel to learn delicious recipes!

This is the first video in my Gapshida series that features a recipe from one of my readers. The first destination on my Gapshida tour was to visit Tanja Rogers in Canterbury, England.

She's been one of my readers for a long time, and she invited me to her house to share some traditional Thai recipes that she learned from her mother. For this salad she replaced papaya with swede (also known as rutabaga) because it's not easy for her to find a firm green papaya where she lives. When made with swede, this salad tastes almost the same as if it were made with papaya.

1. Roughly crush a small handful of unsalted peanuts with mortar and pestle. Set aside. Wipe the mortar and pestle clean.

2. Melt palm sugar in a small pan at low or medium heat, adding 2 tbs of water. The cooking process should form a shiny and thick syrup. This makes it easier to mix the sugar with the salad.

3. Peel the papaya (or swede), shred it with a shredder (or a mandolin slicer) to thin stripes and soak them in cold water while you prepare the rest of the salad. This makes the papaya crunchier and gets rid of any excess starch from the swede.

4. Cut the green beans into one-inch pieces. Throw away the endings.

5. Take the chilies and peeled garlic and give them a gentle bash with mortar and pestle. You still ought to see bits and pieces, not a puree. Add the shrimps and continue bashing. Add the crushed peanuts and mix well.

6. Add the shredded papaya and continue bashing, but not too hard. Just enough so the mixture soaks up the flavours. Use a bigger table spoon as a support tool, that way you can shift the salad in the mortar and it doesn't fall out while bashing and mixing.

7. Add the liquid palm sugar, tomatoes, beans, lime juice and fish sauce. Continue to lightly bash, shift with the spoon, and mix a little more.

8. Serve on a big dish or bowl, sprinkle some crushed peanuts on top! Voila!

In Thailand it's usually served with sticky rice and along another dish called larb, a spice minced meat salad with raw vegetables.

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