Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Som Tam

I love this green papaya salad as it is tangy, spicy and sweet and salty at the same time. Just thinking of it makes my mouth salivate. Drool factor 10 out 10. I first tasted this salad at a Thai restaurant in Canberra by the Melbourne Building. Since then I've always wanted to make it but green papaya is a rare find in Wagga. I have asked Coles to get them but have not seen one yet. They are also known as cooking papaya. I found some at my lastest Canberra trip. These are very dear, two of these cost me $26. No wonder, Thai restaurants here do not have these on their menu. Thank Goodness for no Fruit fly zone between Wagga and ACT. Heheh!

This would be so good to serve with crispy fried chicken and pineapple fried rice but sadly I will be having this with plain rice and peri peri chicken. Yummo for me !!!





So I am going to make just a single serve and so I will halve the papaya. Might use the other half for rojak later..yum yum! Seriously, by the time you julienned half of a papaya to mix with other stuff, it's huge!

This recipe below is adapted from http://thaifood.about.com/

Ingredients:

1 small green papaya, OR 1/2 large (your papaya should be very firm, the flesh white to light orange in color)
1/2 cup honey-roasted peanuts OR plain roasted, or glazed cashews
1-2 cups bean sprouts
1 to 2 tomatoes, cut into long thin strips (optional) I opt out!
1 red chili, minced (seeds removed if you prefer a milder salad)
3 spring onions, sliced into long matchstick-like pieces
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped if leaves are large
A handful of fresh coriander

For the Dressing:
1/2 tsp. shrimp paste
2 Tbsp. good-tasting oil, such as olive
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 to 1 Tbsp. liquid honey, to taste


Method:
  1. Prepare the dressing by mixing together all dressing ingredients together in a cup. Make sure shrimp paste and honey dissolve fully (if using glazed nuts, you may only need to add 1/2 Tbsp. honey). Set aside.
  2. Peel the green papaya, then slice it in half and remove all 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.
  3. Add the sliced tomato, spring onion, chili, bean sprouts, and most of the basil. Add the dressing, tossing to combine.
  4. Add the peanuts or cashews* (you can either leave them whole, or roughly chop them). Toss again. Taste-test the salad. If not sweet enough, add a little more honey. If not salty enough, add a little more fish sauce. If too sweet or salty, add more lime juice. If you prefer it spicier, add more fresh-cut chili or dried crushed chili.
  5. To serve, scoop the salad into individual bowls or onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with remaining basil leaves plus fresh coriander. Serve immediately and ENJOY!
If you wish to make this salad ahead of time, combine all ingredients except the nuts and the dressing. You can then leave it covered in the refrigerator several hours, or overnight. Add the dressing and peanuts at the last minute, then toss and serve.

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