Spicy Green Papaya Salad


The classic northern Thai salad called som tam is often eaten with sticky rice and such ingredients as very small Thai eggplants, little tomatoes, crushed peanuts, dried shrimp, long beans, crispy pork and even salted crabs. This is a minimalist version, and it's simply stunning.

Spicy Green Papaya Salad
Photo: © Maura McEvoy
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 Thai chiles, minced

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger

  • 2 pounds green papaya—peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/4-by-1/4-inch sticks

  • 1 firm, barely ripe mango—peeled, sliced off the pit and cut into 1 1/4-by-1/4-inch sticks

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

  • 1/4 cup shredded mint leaves

  • Salt


  1. In a blender, puree the lime juice with the garlic, fish sauce, sugar, chiles and ginger. In a large bowl, toss the papaya with the mango, cilantro and mint. Add the dressing and toss. Season with salt, toss again and serve.

Make Ahead

The green papaya salad can be refrigerated for up to 2 hours. Serve it slightly chilled.


You will probably have to go to Chinatown to find green (unripe) papaya. Alternatively, substitute a crisp vegetable such as jicama or celery.

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