How to make som tum

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Okay, so you’ve heard all about our trip to the market, but now I’m sure you’re eager to know what we did with all the bounty.

I told you about my plan to make a spicy green papaya salad called som tum, and that’s exactly what we did. We also made sticky rice the cheater way (Auntie Krista also cheats at cooking sometimes, not just board games).

I made the rice in my rice cooker and then transferred it a bamboo container to make it look and smell good.

But back to the som tum…

Som tum is one of the dishes that Thailand is best known for around the world. At the food hall where I go to eat lunch, there is a stand that specializes in som tum and the woman who runs it is always busy. I like her som tum a lot but after taking a Thai cooking class with my friend, LC, a few weeks ago, I was convinced I could do even better.

Luckily, Uncle Richard took the class with us too, so I had a mostly-qualified sous chef.

What makes som tum so delicious is the combination of sour (lime and tamarind), sweet (palm sugar), spicy (chilies and garlic) and crunchy (green papaya, green beans and carrots). To make mine even better, I also added bitter notes (raw eggplant) and herbs (Thai basil, Thai coriander and mint).

Poor Uncle Richard got stuck with the job of shredding the green papaya. Shredding the papaya is difficult because you have to have just the right light touch. It’s kind of like making angel hair pasta.

Uncle Richard also chopped carrots, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, mint, basil, coriander and garlic. I pounded up the chilies and garlic and then mixed everything together.

Doesn’t my som tum sound delicious???

I know what you’re all thinking… that it sounds like Uncle Richard did most of the work. Well, supervising is really tough too and I also provided the thought leadership.


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