International Recipes

Som Tam Isan
(Papaya Salad - Thai)

This is a typical isan (northeast) dish. It can be made with or without the plara (pickled mud fish). Potential cooks are warned: this ingredient smells foul! But it does taste nice. Som tam is a basic 'salad' style dish, eaten as a snack.

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  • 1 papaya (paw-paw) julienned
  • An equal quantity of red prik ki nu (birdseye or dynamite chiles)*
  • 8 to 10 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely,
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup long beans, cut into 1 inch pieces (Thai long beans if possible)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup tamarind juice
  • Juice from 2 tablespoons pickled mud-fish


  1. Sprinkle the julienned papaya with salt and let stand for half an hour or so, then squeeze and discard any fluid.
  2. Add the chili, and pound in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients except the tomato, and pound until mixed and tender.
  4. Add the tomato, and serve with a bowl of sticky rice.


* These are normally de-stalked, cut in four lengthwise then in half crosswise.


Posted by WingsFan91 at Recipe Goldmine 11/15/2001 4:45 pm.

Special thanks to Muoi Khuntilanont.

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