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Som Tam


Som Tam

This Som tam recipe is the Thai version of the Laotian dish tam mak hoong and is similar to the Cambodian dish bok l'hong. Pronounced [sôm tam]) and also known as tam mak hoong (Isan: ตำบักหุ่ง, pronounced [tam bàk hùŋ]) is a spicy salad of Lao origin, the standard form of which is made from shredded unripened papaya.
It is also known as green papaya salad and is made from shredded unripe papaya. The other key ingredients typically include tomatoes, string beans, peanuts, dried shrimp, garlic, chilies, lime, fish sauce, and palm sugar. All these ingredients are pounded together in a mortar and pestle, which not only mixes them thoroughly but also helps to release the flavors. Som tam is known for its vibrant flavors and is often served as a refreshing and spicy side dish or as a main course. It is widely enjoyed both in Thailand and in various parts of the world where Thai cuisine is popular.
This recipe is my version of this classic dish.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Cool in fridge 45 minutes
Total Time 57 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4 people
Calories 97 kcal


  • 1 Large bowl
  • 1 mortar and pestle
  • 1 blender
  • 1 Julienne shredder
  • 1 wok


  • 200 g prawns (raw)
  • 200 g scallops (raw)
  • 3 inches peeled ginger root (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp
  • 4 pieces red chillis
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar paste (or Muscovado sugar)
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 1 pinch rock salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 large green papaya
  • large green mango (firm, not too ripe)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 3 pieces limes
  • 1 tbsp Fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves (coarsely chopped)
  • 6 pieces spring onions (coarsely chopped}
  • 2 long french beans
  • 4 cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp Crushed roasted peanuts
  • spicy paste (made using the ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander)


  • Start by peeling the carrot. Then cut the papaya in quarters lengthways and remove the seeds. Next, slice the skin off the mango. Shred the carrot, green papaya and mango into a large bowl using a Julienne shredder /slicer. Add the juice of three limes and half teaspoonful of chopped lime zest. Add a tablespoon of fish sauce (to taste).
  • Pound the ginger, garlic and chillies in a wooden mortar. Then, add the palm sugar, pound it again, and transfer it to a bowl. Add the coriander leaves and the spring onions. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix half of this paste with the marinating carrot, papaya, and mango. Pound the salad gently to release all the flavours. Add the French beans (cut into 3 cm lengths) and Cherry tomatoes. Mix and place salad mix in a fridge for 45 minutes.
  • Five minutes before serving, heat the sesame oil in a wok and add the remaining ginger, garlic, palm sugar, chilli and coriander paste. Stir fry for a minute, and then add the prawns and stir fry until they have almost turned pink. Then add the scallops and stir fry for 1-2 minutes – or until the scallops are just cooked.
  • Add the cooked prawns and scallops to the carrot, green papaya and mango salad and mix.
  • Sprinkle the crushed roasted peanuts over the salad and your som tam is ready to serve.
Keyword bok l'hong, fish sauce, green papaya, prawns, scallops, som, Som tam, tam mak hoong

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