“Som Tam” is a addictively hot and refreshingly crunchy salad. This Thai staple has been called the world’s best salad. This has been hands down my favourite Salad for years. History has it that Som Tam originated in Laos. The original name of Som Tam was “Tam Bak Hoong“. Bak Hoong in Thai language translates to “Papaya” and Tam translates to “pounded.” Since Som Tam is made by pounding all the ingredients together, it is only correct that this salad was once called “Pounded Papaya.”
Since Som Tam gets its delicious Umami flavor from Fish Sauce and Shrimp paste. I had to come up with a vegan version of the dish so I could enjoy it anytime I wanted. My recipe packs a punch and tastes as good as the real deal.
Shredded green Papaya, green Beans and Tomatoes are tossed in a dressing made of Garlic, Bird Eye Chillies, Palm Sugar, Lemon, Peanuts and Salt. I also add fresh Basil, Coriander and Mint leaves to my Salad. These herbs mixed with the already flavor packed dressing taste like magic.
Once you roughly pound all these ingredients together in a mortar and pestle, add some of the shredded papaya and cherry Tomatoes too and give them a good pounding along with the dressing. This step ensures the Vinaigrette steeps into the salad and makes it extra flavourful.
This salad recipe is an absolute keeper. My Vegan Som Tam can be served as a side dish/appetizer, or as the main course. Cooked Tofu or meat can be added to make this salad hearty and filling. You can even eat it as they do in Thailand, along with a hot bowl of Sticky Rice.
VEGAN SOM TAM
- Mortar Pestle
- 1 med size Raw Papaya julienned
- 8-10 Cherry Tomatoes
- 8-10 Basil leaves
- 12-15 Mint leaves
- 12-15 Coriander leaves with stem
- 1 stalk of Lemongrass finely chopped
- 4-5 Kaffir Lime leaves finally sliced
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Coconut Sugar
- 3 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1/2 Cup Roasted Skinned Peanuts
- 2-3 Bird eye Chillies
- 2-3 Garlic cloves finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp Palm Sugar/ Raw Sugar/ Coconut Sugar/ Jaggery
To Make the Dressing:
- To a mixing bowl add Lime Juice, Olive Oil, Palm Sugar, lemongrass, bird eye chillies, kaffir lime leaves and Salt.
- Mix well and refrigerate for a couple hours so the flavors can steep well.
To Make the Salad
- Add shredded Papaya, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, Mint and Coriander to a large bowl.
- Add the dressing. You can use the mortar and pestle to pound some of the papaya and cherry tomatoes and add to the bowl.
- Mix well and refrigerate for an hour.
- Transfer the skinned Roasted Peanuts to the Mortar Pestle and pound coarsely.
- After an hour, remove the Sakad from the refrigerator. Add the crushed Peanuts anand transfer to a serving bowl. Top with some more crushed Peanuts and fresh herbs. Enjoy