Som Tam is a world wide sensation, if you have not tried this spicy, refreshing and sweet salad then you are in for a real treat! Although originally from Lao, this dish has become a Thai favorite and has spread all over the world, including outside of Asia.
It was listed at number 46 of the worlds most delicious foods by CNN Go in 2011 and with Thai restaurants all over the states and Europe often serving this dish, it is a very well received salad indeed.
The dish is made from unripe green papaya, and you cannot really get around it if you don’t have this ingredient available. We are really sorry but you can try with some carrot, but really you must have green papaya. Maybe you can grow your own papaya tree if you cannot access this, as the tree grows really fast and produces loads of fruit. But it will require a warm climate so for Europeans maybe a indoor grow would be the best.
Traditionally this dish is made with a raw partially rotted fish product which has since been linked to worms and other intestinal tract problems, so we recommend you stay clear of this when ordering. Additionally the dish is often made with garlic which is debatable of its toxicity to humans, due to its effect on thickening saliva and the buddha’s stand point on it – we do not see it as ital and have not included it in this dish, if you like it from a taste preference feel free to add it.
We have roasted our own ‘redshell’ peanuts which are very cheap here and can be done in the oven in tin foil in a short time before you cook. We recommend you do your own peanuts instead of store bought as you will have a refresher taste and avoid possible salts, msg and other coverings that are being used in pre-packaged nuts.
If you want to make this really spicy, just add more chili. It’s as simple as that, for taste you may want to balance it with some more lime juice then the recipe provided or coconut sugar, just go with your preferences and adjust the recipe as best suits.
Som Tam is all about how you are feeling when you cook it, enjoy the process and savor the flavors. Refreshing, spicy, zingy lime and nutty. It is a taste explosion! Try adding cucumber, flax seeds, chia seeds and spirulina for a real nutrition boost for you and your family or dinner friends.