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Thai Salad (Som Tam)

April 29, 2009

~ John ~

This is my favorite Thai dish.  It’s HOT and SOUR!  Mary makes it for me from time to time and did so this weekend.   


This is very simple if you have the ingredients.  You can also adjust its spicyness, but the sour really needs to stay.  If you order it in a Thai restaurant expect it to be spicy HOT!




Thai Salad – Som Tam


½ Cup Lemon Juice

¼ Cup Fish Sauce

1 Tbsp Sugar

Mix Together.

Set Aside.


These amounts are approximations you can add more or less as you see fit.

Mix together in large bowl:

2 large Handfuls Fresh Green Beans – mash to bruise a bit

2 Cups Shredded Carrots

3 Cups Shredded Jicima shredded is better than run through the mandolin.

4 Cloves Garlic Chopped

3 Sliced Thai Hot Chili Peppers – you can used crushed red pepper flakes

Dried Shrimp – optional, but oh so good.


Pour dressing over and mix well. This needs to sit for a bit and needs tossing on occasion.  There should be a big puddle of dressing in the bottom as the vegetables weep.  Add more lemon juice, fish sauce or sugar if needed.


Top with

Chopped  Cilantro – optional

Crushed Peanuts


5 Comments leave one →
  1. foododelmundo permalink
    April 30, 2009 6:08 pm

    JP Asked in an email what Fish Sauce is.
    My reply:
    It is fermented fish that’s strained through charcoal. The Thai equivalent to Soy Sauce, but DO NOT substitute soy for fish sauce EVER! John & I call it stinky feet sauce – smells horrific, but tastes great and makes all the difference in the world. Yes, you should be able to find it in the Asian food section it’s very common and very cheap. The kind I get is the bottom right hand photo – it’s in a plastic bottle.

  2. May 29, 2009 7:20 pm

    That salad looks good. I like the flavours in it!

  3. May 29, 2009 11:45 pm

    I love quick, light salads like this. I have a jicama waiting too, so this will be next on the list when I get some green beans. I’m curious to try the dressing. I’ve been experimenting with oils and vinegars lately, but lemon juice and fish sauce sounds like it could be really good.

  4. Axion permalink
    June 8, 2009 12:42 pm

    Lemon juice instead of lime? Blasphemy!

    I usually use a mix of rice vinegar and lime juice.

    • June 8, 2009 2:36 pm

      Either will do. My Thai home stay mother used to make it with lemon juice, and the cook book “Thai Cooking Class” by Somi Anuntra Miller, a Thai Chef, says lemon – so that’s what I use. The “Hot Sour Salty Sweet” cook book uses lime juice.
      Either way it’s damn fine!

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