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Vegan Spicy Thai Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

What you need: 

8 to 12 Thai chillies, cut in thirds
8 cloves garlic, peeled and cut
4 cups julienned peeled unripe green papaya - in strips 2 to 3" long and 1/8" thick
1 cup long beans, cut into 1 1/2" segments
Juice of 2 to 3 limes, to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons Vegetarian fish sauce, to taste (can substitute soy sauce)
2 to 3 tablespoons palm sugar, melted with 1 tablespoon water into a thick syrup
12 cherry tomatoes, halved, or 2 small tomatoes, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup coarse chopped/crushed unsalted roasted peanuts

What you do: 

1) Put garlic and chillies in large mortar and pestle (they call for a clay mortar with wooden pestle, but mine is stone and works fine) and pound into a mushy paste. Add long beans and pound to bruise them so that they will soak up liquid. If, like mine, your mortar and pestle is not large enough for all the papaya, put the papaya in a large metal mixing bowl and dump your mortar contents over it. Don't wash your mortar yet! (If your mortar is huge, do all of these steps in it for simplicity). Gently pound the papaya, hard enough to bruise, but don't damage your bowl. Stir and pound a few times to get the papaya absorbing the spice.
2) Do not wash the chili oils out of the mortar, add the lime juice, vegetarian fish sauce and palm sugar to the mortar, pounding and stirring, and they will pick up some of the oils. After this is well mixed, add the tomatoes, pound gently, then add all contents to the papaya and mix/pound again.
3) Taste and adjust flavoring as desired. Serve and sprinkle peanuts on top. Enjoy!
Ingredients: Asian groceries carry Palm Sugar, Green Papayas (pre-shredded if you're lucky!), and the Veggie Fish Sauce.
** Spiciness note: These instructions make a salad that is deliciously spicy! If less spice is desired, use less chillies and don't cut/pound as much.
Source of recipe: Modified and Veganized from:

Preparation Time: 
30 minutes
Cooking Time: 
Recipe Category: 


You can also use carrots instead of the green papaya. You will get a similar taste and texture.


I am dying to try this, I love green papaya salad, I just need to find green papaya.

Try an asian grocery in your town if there is one, or a friendly thai restaurant might sell you some by the pound...  I've had that work with several hard to find ingredients before (homemade tahini from my favorite middle eastern restaurant!)

Good luck!



I am dying to try this, I love green papaya salad, I just need to find green papaya.

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