Som Tam Lao (Lao-style green papaya salad)

    20 mins

    This is a Lao dish using fermented crab, shrimp and fish to give the salad a pungent urgency. This version of som tam is only for the adventurous.


    Bangkok (Krung Thep Maha Nakhon), Thailand
    5 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1/2 green papaya
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 3-4 Thai chillies, or to taste
    • 2 tablespoons gapi (fermented shrimp paste)
    • 1 tablespoon pla laa (fermented freshwater fish)
    • 1 lime, quartered
    • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 4 tablespoons poo dong (fermented crab)
    • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
    • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
    • 1 tablespoon tamarind juice
    • 2 tablespoons lime juice

    Prep:20min  ›  Ready in:20min 

    1. Peel and shred the green papaya with a peeler device designed for this task or with a box grater.
    2. Place the salt, garlic and chillies in a smooth ceramic mortar and pound until well smashed. Add the gapi and pla laa and pound into a chunky paste.
    3. Add the lime quarters, pound, then add the cherry tomatoes and pound some more, crushing the tomatoes slightly.
    4. Add the green papaya and poo dong and gently bruise the papaya, working the ingredients together lightly.
    5. Season the mixture with the fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind juice and lime juice. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.
    6. Serve on a platter and pair with sticky rice to sop up the spicy juices from the salad.

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