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Tam Mak Hoong, also known as Som Tam, is a vibrant and refreshing salad from Laos and Northeastern Thailand. Made with shredded green papaya, tomatoes, chilies, lime juice, and fish sauce, it offers a perfect balance of flavors - sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. This salad is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients, making it a popular choice for a light and healthy meal or side dish.
1 lb green papaya, peeled and shredded
2-3 Thai bird's eye chilies, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons palm sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, crushed
2 tablespoons dried shrimp, optional
Chopped cilantro for garnish
In a mortar and pestle, pound the minced garlic and chilies together until they form a paste. Add palm sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice to the mortar and mix well to dissolve the sugar. In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded green papaya, halved cherry tomatoes, crushed peanuts, and dried shrimp (if using). Pour the dressing over the papaya mixture and toss until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, adding more fish sauce for saltiness or lime juice for acidity. Transfer the salad to a serving plate and garnish with chopped cilantro.
Tam Mak Hoong is best served fresh and can be enjoyed on its own as a light and refreshing salad or paired with sticky rice and grilled meats for a more substantial meal.
Tam Mak Hoong is a delightful salad that bursts with flavors and textures. Whether you're looking for a healthy appetizer or a side dish to accompany your main course, this spicy green papaya salad is sure to impress with its bold and zesty taste.