Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

Time: 20 minutes

1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon dry-roasted salted peanuts, more for garnish
2 fresh bird chilies or serrano chilies, sliced
1/2 teaspoon raw sugar or white sugar
1 Tablespoon dried shrimp (optional)
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 to 2 Tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla), to taste
2 plum tomatoes, 1 large round tomato, or 8 grape tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound long beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths (optional)
1 small to medium green (unripe) papaya (see Note)
Lettuce for serving (optional).

In a blender or mortar, blend or pound garlic, salt, peanuts, chilies, sugar and shrimp (if using) into a paste. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in
lime juice and fish sauce. Use a spoon (or the mortar) to lightly crush tomatoes and beans (if using), then add to bowl and mix lightly.

Peel and coarsely grate or shred papaya, discarding seeds and inner membrane. There should be 4 to 6 cups.

Add papaya to bowl and lightly but thoroughly toss together. Taste for seasoning. Mound in a bowl (if desired, line bowl with lettuce leaves

Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Note: If green papaya is unavailable, use an equivalent amount of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots).

The recipe suggests what to do if you cannot find green (unripe) papaya, but let me also suggest green (again, unripe) mango as a substitute. I
actually prefer using it because it's easier to tell if they are unripe in a consistent fashion. (At least for me that is true!) ~ Judy B

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