Spicy papaya salad, also known as “som tam” in Thailand, is a refreshing and fiery dish that has become increasingly popular around the world. This salad is made from fresh green papaya, which is shredded and combined with a flavorful dressing made from ingredients such as fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, chilies, and palm sugar. It is a perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors and is often served as a side dish or a light meal.
Read more: Roti Gluay: A Delicious Thai Snack
The Origins of Spicy Papaya Salad
Spicy papaya salad is believed to have originated in the northeastern region of Thailand, known as Isan, where it is a popular street food. The dish has since spread throughout Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia, as well as to Western countries where Thai cuisine is popular. It is now commonly found in Thai restaurants and even in some grocery stores, where pre-packaged shredded green papaya can be purchased.
Ingredients and preparation
To make spicy papaya salad, the key ingredient is fresh green papaya. The papaya should be peeled and shredded using a special shredder tool known as a “som tam” in Thai. Other ingredients typically include sliced cherry tomatoes, green beans, roasted peanuts, and sometimes dried shrimp. The dressing is made by combining fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, chilies, and palm sugar in a mortar and pestle or a blender. The dressing is then mixed with the shredded papaya and other ingredients and served chilled.
The Health Benefits of Spicy Papaya Salad
Spicy papaya salad is not only delicious but also a healthy dish. Green papaya is low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium. The salad also contains other nutritious ingredients such as tomatoes, green beans, and peanuts. The dressing, while high in sodium, provides a burst of flavour from the lime juice and chilli peppers, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and metabolism-boosting properties.
Tips for Making and Serving Spicy Papaya Salad
To make the best spicy papaya salad, it is important to use fresh, ripe ingredients and to balance the flavours of the dressing. The salad can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for several hours before serving. It is often served as a side dish to complement grilled meats or fish, or as a light meal on its own. Some variations of the dish include adding shredded carrots or cucumbers or using a different type of nut in place of peanuts.
In conclusion, spicy papaya salad is a delicious and healthy dish that has become popular around the world. With its refreshing and fiery flavors, it is a perfect addition to any meal or as a light and satisfying snack. Try making this dish at home and enjoy the unique taste of Thailand in your own kitchen.