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Green Papaya Salad

In Cambodia, this is called Bok Lahong (“pounded papaya” in Khmer); in Vietnam, Goi Du Du (pronounced “guy dodo”); and in Thailand, it is known as Som Tam. However you say it, this delicate combination of contrasting flavors is refreshing and delicious. If you use all the chilies, this dish can be spicy, so feel free to adjust to your taste.

Shaved papaya salad served with nuts and tomatoes in a uniquely shaped white dish.



  • 4 Thai chili peppers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1½ tsp (9 g) shrimp paste
  • 3 T (11 g) salted crab
  • 1½ T (22 ml) Thai fish sauce
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • ¼ C (57 g) tamarind concentrate
  • 3 T (41 g) palm sugar
  • ⅓ C (78 ml) water
  • 1½ C (224 g) cherry tomatoes, cut in half


  • 2 C (290 g) green papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 C (165 g) very firm mango, peeled, pitted and cut into thin strips
  • ½ C (55 g) carrot, peeled and shredded
  • ½ C (63 g) apple, cored and cut into thin strips
  • 1 C (133 g) cucumber, shredded
  • 2 T (18 g) peanuts, crushed


Dressing In a mortar and pestle, crush chili peppers. Add garlic, shrimp and crab pastes, salted crab, fish sauce, lime juice and tamarind. Mix together sugar and water and add to chili mixture; blend well. Add tomatoes and lightly muddle.

Assembly Place all salad ingredients except peanuts in a bowl; add peanuts and dressing; gently toss to combine. Serve immediately or chill for up to 1 hour.

*Try a well-stocked supermarket or Asian market for the regional ingredients, or you may substitute jalapeños for Thai chili; brown sugar for palm sugar; and soy or Worcestershire sauce for the fish sauce, crab and shrimp paste.

  • Prep time: 18 minutes.
  • Makes 6 servings.