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Green Papaya Salad – Som Tam

Papaya Salad

Just back from Phuket in Thailand, a quick blog post and a few pics to keep you up to date. Christmas is around the corner and with a bit of catching up needed, blog posts might be somewhat erratic over the next few weeks. Our trip to Thailand was combined with my husband participating in the Laguna Phuket Challenge and I am well impressed, he completed a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21km run… I guess all that porridge for breakfast had something to do with it!

While hubby was doing some light training before his race, I managed to squeeze in a cookery lesson at the Phuket Thai Cookery School. Although familiar with the recipes being prepared that day, it was good to brush up on balancing the spicy, creamy, salty, sour and sweet tastes of Thai dishes. Almost ten years ago I took my first Thai cookery lesson in Phuket at a different location. With cooking lessons you pick up some great tips, learn about new ingredients and each chef has their own little touches which they like to share.

Salad 2

A quick tour around the local market in Phuket Town was given before class. We prepared a Chicken and Coconut Soup, Green Curry with Chicken, Thai Fried Noodles with Prawns, Green Papaya Salad and Mango with Sticky Rice for dessert… we were all very happily stuffed by the end of the day.

Thai 3Can’t resist the markets!

local market thailand

It has been quite some time since I made Green Papaya Salad and I had forgotten just how simple and delicious it is. It’s colourful, crunchy, definitely spicy and has a salty-sour taste which can be made a little sweeter, depending on your taste preferences. You could serve this salad alongside a nice piece of grilled salmon or grilled chicken. In Thailand this salad is sometimes served with steamed jasmine rice as a meal.

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

(serves 2)


  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 6 bird’s eye chillies
  • 2 tablespoons of dried shrimps, blanched
  • 2 long green beans, cut into 1inch lengths
  • 200g shredded green papaya
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1\4 cup of shredded carrot
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of roasted peanuts

How to make: Pound the garlic, chilies and dried shrimp into a coarse paste using a pestle and mortar.

Add the long beans and pound to crush lightly. Add the green papaya and 1 tablespoon of the roasted peanuts, pound lightly until the papaya becomes a little limp.

Add the carrot and tomatoes and pound very lightly, just enough to bruise the tomatoes.

In a small dish, stir the palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice together until well blended, then pour over salad. Toss all the ingredients together until well combined. Transfer salad to a serving plate and garnish with remaining tablespoon of roasted peanuts.

Notes: If you cannot find green papaya use cucumber and shred with the skin on, do not include the middle part with the seeds. The dried shrimp can be omitted. As this is a spicy dish you can reduce the amount of chills used. Recipe can easily be doubled and the sweetness and saltiness of the dressing can be adjusted according to taste. Use light brown sugar if palm sugar is not available. This julienne peeler comes in handy when you need to shred vegetables.


Cucumber Ribbons, Fresh Dill and Orange Salad with a Citrus Dressing

The swivel peeler is handy when preparing cucumber ribbons for this refreshing salad. The citrus dressing is prepared in advance so the flavours infuse together.  Before serving, shave the cucumber into ribbons and gently toss them together with the citrus dressing. When making this salad I like to buy the English cucumbers as they contain fewer seeds and the cucumber ribbons are firmer. Serve this salad with a nice piece of grilled salmon for a delicious healthy meal.

Cucumber Ribbons and Orange Salad with Dill and Citrus Dressing


  • 2 oranges, segmented (squeeze juice from remaining pulp and reserve for the dressing)
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped dill
  • 1/2 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large cucumbers

Hold the orange over a small bowl while segmenting, to collect any juice that drips from the orange. I like to use a very sharp paring knife when segmenting the orange, so that I end up with neat slices. 

Using a swivel vegetable peeler, shave the cucumber lengthways into neat ribbons.

How to make: Place the red onion, dill, garlic, orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, virgin olive oil into a screw top jar and shake all the ingredients together until combined. Season the citrus dressing with salt and black pepper, set aside until needed. 

Just before serving, trim the ends of the cucumber and shave the cucumber lengthways into ribbons, using a swivel vegetable peeler. Place the cucumber ribbons into a serving bowl with the orange segments and pour over the prepared citrus dressing, gently toss together and serve. Serves 4