Thai Green Papaya Salad

As we continue with our Thai Cuisine series, let’s explore the wonderfully balanced flavors of the Thai Green (Raw) Papaya Salad. This recipe calls for few ingredients and is super simple to make as a fresh accompaniment for your Thai meal.

Prep Time: 20 mins
Chill Time: 30 mins to 1 hr
Serves: 4 to 6


Raw Green Papaya – approx 2 lbs (1 Kg), peeled, de-seeded and shredded into long shreds
Thai Green Chilies – to taste
Garlic – 4 to 5 cloves
Lime Juice – 1/4 cup (from 2 large limes)
Palm Sugar – 4 Tbsp, packed (jaggery or brown sugar can be substituted)
Soy Sauce – 1 Tbsp (Fish Sauce can be used for authentic flavor)
Tomato – 1 medium, chopped into large pieces
Salt – optional or to taste
Roasted Peanuts – 1/2 cup or to taste, crushed


1. In a mortar and pestle, crush the Green Chilies and Garlic into a paste.
2. In a small bowl, mix together Lime Juice, Palm Sugar and Soy Sauce. Allow the Palm Sugar to dissolve.
3. Slowly add the mixture into the crushed chilies/garlic and continue to mix well with the pestle until all the ingredients are well combined.
4. Pour the mixture (dressing) over the shredded papaya and gently incorporate it by using the pestle. Do not crush the papaya into pulp, gently press so the flavors from the dressing go in.
5. Add Tomato and continue to mix with the pestle.
6. Taste the salad and adjust salt if necessary.
7. Add roughly crushed Roasted Peanuts and mix.
8. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 mins to 1 hr before serving.

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19 thoughts on “Thai Green Papaya Salad

  1. I appreciate the research and effort you put into this post. It shows. I will definitely be sharing this post with my friends and followers. Keep up the great work!

  2. Hi Hetal & Anuja,

    the recepie looks very tempting i m gng to try it out for sure

    can u tell me where can i buy a mortar and a pestle?

  3. Hi Anuja and Hetal,
    I tried making this once before by another recipe. I found that the papaya seemed bitter. I wanted to try your recipe, but wondered if there was a way to make it less bitter, or did I just get a bad papaya? Someone told me to sprinkle it with salt and squeeze our the liquid that it releases? Did you guys do this?

    1. Hi Judy,

      We have made this salad many times but have never run across a bitter papaya (so never had to salt and squeeze). I think you must have had a bad papaya (similar to bitter cucumbers or bitter zucchini).

    1. I’m also wondering about this. I live in bangkok and have som tam for lunch every day…with about 7 red chillies in mine!

      I’ll be moving to Mumbai next month and would love to know where to buy green papaya, palm sugar, fish sauce, and lemon grass/kaffir lime leaves/galangal for tom yam.

      Oh and whoever said the garlic is not authentic is wrong. There are many types of som tam, and my som tam lady here in BKK uses garlic, tomato, and raw green beans in all her som tam.

      This is the way she makes it:
      She pounds the red chilies and two cloves of garlic for a few seconds. Adds the palm sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, green beans, and a roma tomato cut into quarters. Then adds the shredded green papaya, peanuts, and dried shrimp and pounds some more. I get mine without the whole live crabs and rotten fish parts (plala) though!

      1. Hi Preyanka,

        We get all of our Asian ingredients from our local Asian market. We are not sure where to find these items in India. Maybe some of our other viewers can help.

  4. very far from authentic. soy sauce and garlic? no no. somtum should be papaya, dried shrimp, fish sauce, lime juice, salt, peanuts, and preferably some tomato, plus RED chilies to taste. with a wedge of green cabbage on the side.

    1. and a little sugar or jaggery. but not much–just enough to give it a little bit of depth. it should not be a “sweet and sour” salad. it should be a ‘dry,’ sour-spicy salad. 4 T of sugar will make a sickly sweet sauce! if that is your preference, that’s fine, but then it’s not somtum. i come here for the fabulous Indian recipes, and I trust you on those. Please please stick to those.

    1. Hi Rasika,
      They are roasted Peanuts. If you have raw ones at home, just dry roast them in a pan or skillet on low heat, just to get the rawness out….
      that should work!

  5. I’m assuming the green papaya salad has a tart taste like using the green mango. I notice that a lot of your recipes call for tartness which come from using lemon, lime, unripend fruit, vinegar. Is there a benefit to the tartness or is this just a preference? I love what i’ve tried.

    1. Hi Shirleen,
      This salad is sweet, tangy and has a hint (or more) of spice. We, personally, do have an affinity towards tangy-flavors 😉 Health-wise – really can’t say but think it is personal preference 🙂

  6. Oh, no soy sauce, please. I understand if you want a vegetarian dish. Otherwise, Fish Sauce, or Nam Pla, is the only way to go, and also dried shrimp.

    FYI, when I was in Thailand in the northeast many years ago, in the street the ladies used to shred the papaya using only a giant cleaver.

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