Som Tum - Som Tum Thai Pboo ส้มตำไทยใส่ปู

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som tum som tum

When I made the Som Tum Thai with Salted Crab for this recipe, I only took a bite to check the recipe and gave the rest to my friend (picture on the right). The next morning, I was still haunted by how great it was. So, I decided I had to make it for lunch, so it would stop popping up in my mind.

In half an hour, I was sitting and devouring a new batch of Som Tum. It was so good. I love how the heat and the sweet and sour play against one another. The salted crab added an extra dimension and a distinct flavor to som tum. The crunchiness and the creaminess of roasted peanuts ...It was like war in my mouth. It was hot but I couldn’t stop eating. A bite of warm sticky rice contrasts and calms down the sharp flavors in my mouth. At the same time, I wondered and thanked whoever made this dish for the first time. Did they know how wonderful the flavors have come together?

Hopefully, by doing this recipe and having enjoyed som tum, it will stop haunting me. But I know I'll be hearing 'It's baaaack!' soon.

2 Servings, Prep Time: 15 Minutes, Total Time: 15 Minutes

Tips and Techniques

  • Shredded green papaya is sometimes available at Asian markets. If you got some, keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready, so that it stays crunchy. 
  • If your dried shrimp is very dry and hard (tough to chew), soak it in warm water before using. 
  • In Thailand, we use Thai yardlong beans, which are light green and bigger than the Chinese yardlong beans. Both are available at Asian markets and farmers markets and you can use either. The Thai yardlong beans are harder to find, though.  Green beans are a great substitute. 
  • Any small tomatoes such as cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes will do. However, if you're unable to get small tomatoes, large is a good substitute. Just slice them smaller.
  • If you don't have the som tum mortar (clay or wooden), tossing som tum like salad will work too. The ingredients might not be as bruised and the flavors will not penetrate the ingredients but your som tum will still taste great. 
  • Your finished som tum should look like it has been through a cycle of tumbling. At this point the different flavors should be well mixed and have penetrated into the green papaya.
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