The world has become so small. My family can eat from 3-4 different countries without even having to order take out. I can make it in my own home.
My brother-in-law Dave served an LDS Mission to Thailand and is the person I credit with my family's love of Thai food. He's the one that showed us how simple making these dishes at home could be. He introduced James and I to our first Thai restaurant as well. I remember Dave making this salad on a beautiful summer day on the beach at Bear Lake. Out of the tailgate of his Suburban he threw together this salad in a Ziploc bag, and we feasted! It was so tasty!
I will say that finding green papaya IS a little tricky. I have a favorite Thai Food Market in Ogden that always has green papaya, and sometimes you can buy bags of it pre shredded. If you don't have access to green papaya (And regular papaya isn't the same. Sorry!) you could substitute shredded cucumber, or shredded cabbage for a Thai Coleslaw version:) This salad is best served with Thai Sweet Sticky Rice, but regular Calrose, or Sushi rice would work great. It's great served on its own as well. It's raw, and fresh, and full of really great flavors. Enjoy!
Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)
adapted from this recipe
1 small green papaya, OR 1/2 large about 2- 2 1/2 cups
1/2 cup roasted peanuts or cashews chopped
1 carrot grated
1 to 2 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges or long strips
3 spring onions, chopped
handful of fresh cilantro
1 red chili, sliced, seeds removed (totally optional)
2 Tbsp. fish sauce OR soy sauce for vegetarians
3 Tbsp. lime juice
sugar to taste- I used about 1/8 c.
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. chili flakes or sriracha sauce
About Green Papaya: You may be able to find an unripe papaya in your local supermarket - it should have greenish-orange to green skin. If not, the best place is an Asian food store or market. It should be firm on the outside; inside flesh will be white to light orange.
Use a sharp knife to peel the green papaya, then slice it in half and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Using the largest grater you have, grate the papaya, or you can use a potato peeler to create thin, ribbon-like strips. Place in a large bowl.
Add sliced tomato, spring onion, chili/cayenne, basil. Pour over the dressing, tossing well to combine.
Add nuts and toss again. Taste-test the salad. If not sweet enough, add a little more sprinkling of sugar. If not flavorful enough, add a little more fish sauce or soy sauce. If too sweet or salty, add more lime juice. Add more chili for a spicier salad.
To serve, scoop into individual bowls or onto serving plates. Top with cilantro and a sprinkling of more nuts. Serve immediately with rice or on it's own and ENJOY!