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Tum som Isaan

You'll need

5 red birdseye chillies, or to taste 2 garlic cloves 1 small green papaya, shredded 6 snake beans, cut into 6cm lengths, plus extra to serve 8 cherry tomatoes, halved 1 tbsp ground preserved fish sauce Juice of 4 limes, or to taste 60 ml (¼ cup) fish sauce, or to taste 30 gm light palm sugar, crushed 2 tbsp dried shrimp To serve: roasted peanuts (optional)


  • 01
  • Pound chilli and garlic in a large wooden mortar and pestle (see note) to a paste. Add papaya and beans and pound to combine, folding mixture over with a large metal spoon as you go. Add remaining ingredients, pound and fold to combine, add peanuts, adjust seasoning to taste (should taste hot, sour and salty) and serve.

Note A traditional large wooden mortar and pestle is used for this recipe and is available from some Asian grocers. If unavailable, use a large bowl and a muddle stick.

This shredded papaya salad is popular in the north of Thailand. In Isaan, preserved black soft-shell crab is sometimes added; you can buy it frozen from Thai grocers. This is great served with gai yang and steamed sticky rice.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Aromatic young off-dry riesling.

Featured in

Feb 2011

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