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Vegan Som Tam Salad Recipe | Raw Papaya Salad

Som tum or Som Tam is Thai Papaya Salad made from raw or green papaya. If you have been to Thailand, you must have tried som tum salad atleast once. It is a popular, fun and spicy salad often served as a side dish. You’ll find it everywhere in Thailand from the streets to high end restaurants. While papaya salad is a signature dish in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, it’s the Thai version that is the most famous.

When I went to Thailand 2 years back, I was there for 8 days. I went in the month of June, so weather was a little humid and my craving for something bright, refreshing and light was at its peak. Everyday and I literally mean all those 8 days I had this salad. It is everything you want from a salad. It teases your taste buds with tantalising combination of crunchy, sweet, spicy, tangy and salty flavours. Thai cuisine is anyway so delightful. I love all the complex flavour profile of Thai food. It’s sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavors, creating a symphony of taste in every dish. The combination of these flavors is what makes Thai food so addictive and mouth-watering. It is one of my favourite cuisines in the world. Every dish is packed with some fabulous kick ass flavours. 

Needless to say, as the summer approaches, this delectable papaya salad hits all the right notes for my cravings. I am a vegetarian but papaya salad in Thai cuisine is not vegetarian or vegan. It is usually made with baby shrimps and fish sauce. However, this vegan papaya salad recipe is packed with plenty of flavour and replaces fish sauce with soy sauce.

I also love how this simple recipe is also so healthy that I can eat as much as I want without a bit of guilt. 

  • Raw papaya is a fabulous source of Vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, potassium, and magnesium.
  • It also contains an enzyme called papain, which aids in digestion and can help relieve symptoms of indigestion, constipation, and bloating.
  • It is low in calories, high in dietary fibre, and contains enzymes that increases metabolic function.
  • Raw papaya has also been known to help reduce menstrual cramps and provide relief from the discomfort associated with menstruation.

Without further delay, let’s see how we can make this bowl of goodness.

Recipe: serves 2


  1. Shredded Raw or Green Papaya: 2 cups
  2. Shredded Carrot: 1 large
  3. Garlic: 1 large clove or 2 medium size
  4. Thai Red Chilli or Bird eye chilli: 1 (can add less or more as required)
  5. Palm sugar: 1 tbsp
  6. Tomato: 1 small size or 3-4 cherry tomatoes 
  7. Long Beans: 2-3 (optional; I didn’t add any)
  8. Lemon or Lime juice: 2 tbsps
  9. Roasted Peanuts: 2 tbsps
  10. Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce: 2 tbsps
  11. Rice or White Vinegar: 1 tbsp
  12. Sea Salt: as per taste


  • In a large mortar pestle add garlic, red chilli, lemon or lime juice, soy sauce and vinegar and peanuts. With the help of the pestle bruise the ingredients. 
  • Now add shredded papaya, carrots and sugar. Use a spoon and the pestle to mix and bruise the salad. Then add tomatoes and bruise again. 
  • Season to taste with more soy sauce, salt or lime juice if needed.
  • Alternatively, you can also make this salad using a large zip lock bag and use a rolling pin to bruise the ingredients. 
  • Serve Som tam as it is or have it with sticky rice. It also pairs well with Thai curries, grilled meats or can be enjoyed as a full meal with added protein.


This salad can be stored in the refrigerator for upto 2 days. But remember green papaya will soften the longer it sits.

If you are looking for more such healthy Thai recipes, do try out this Thai style Vegan Bowl with Peanut Butter Dressing. If you make this salad recipe, do let me know. I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts. Stay happy and healthy! See you soon with next recipe. 🙂

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