Som Tam Green Papaya Salad


  • 8-12 Thai chilies (bird peppers),      each cut into 3-4 segments
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and cut      each into 2-3 pieces
  • 2 Tbs. small dried shrimp
  • 4 cups julienne peeled unripe      papaya – in strips 2-3 inches long and 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 cup cut long beans – 1      1/2-inch-long segments
  • 1 julienne carrot
  • 1/4 cup tamarind juice the      thickness of fruit concentrate
  • Juice of 2-3 limes, to taste
  • 2-3 Tbs. fish sauce, to taste
  • 2-3 Tbs. palm sugar, melted with 1      Tbs. water into a thick syrup – use as needed
  • 2 small tomatoes, cut into      bite-size wedges; or 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted roasted      peanuts

Prepare the ingredients as indicated. Make tamarind juice by starting with 1 Tbs. of compressed tamarind in 1/3 cup of warm water. Work the tamarind with your fingers to dissolve the soft fruit; gather up remaining un-dissolved pulp, squeeze to extract juice and discard. Add more tamarind or water as necessary to make 1/4 cup of concentrate.
Using a large clay mortar with a wooden pestle, pound the garlic and chilies to a paste. Add the dried shrimp and long beans and pound to bruise. Follow with the green papaya and carrot. Stir well with a spoon and pound to bruise the vegetables so that they absorb the heat and flavor of the chilies and garlic.

Add the tamarind and lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar. Stir and pound a bit more to blend the vegetables with the flavorings and seasonings. Taste and adjust flavors to the desired hot-sour-sweet-and-salty combination. Then add the tomato pieces, stir and bruise lightly to blend in with the rest of the salad. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with peanuts. Serves 6-8.

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