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Papaya Salad – Som Tam

Som Tam (Papaya Salad)

Som Tam (Papaya Salad)

This week I feel like eating sour spicy food so let’s make Papaya Salad! This classic Thai papaya salad has such a healthy, rich flavor and requires only few main ingredients:
– papaya,
– lime/tamarind
– fish sauce
– Thai chilis
– garlic
– tomatoes
– dry shrimps

Papaya Salad called “Som Tam” in Thai language, is an iconic dish of Thai Cuisine. Its usually made with unripe papaya, but sometime I used green mango, or even granny smith apples instead. It’s just important to get that crunchy base for the dish.

Som tam is popular throughout the entire country of Thailand, although there are several variations that are typically found in certain areas. Usually it’s eaten with sticky rice and grilled chicken. And som tam is a perfect choice for a meal for person who wants diet like me 🙂

Thai chili

Spicy Thai chilies ready to eat

Spicy Thai chilies ready to eat

I’m so glad that the Thai chili seeds I planted early this year grew so well. Now some of them have turned red and green, and are ready to use cooking my Thai dishes.

 

There are many types of Thai chili used in Thai cooking.

  • Bird’s eye chili (Prik Kee Noo) – 1 inch, the hottest one in Chili family
  • Chilli Spur Pepper (Prik Chee Fah) – 3-5 inches, it’s not hot, but used its for coloring and for decoration
  • Sweet Pepper (Prik Yuak)
  • Green Pepper Chili (Prik Noom)
  • Dried Chili
Thai chilies growing in my garden

Thai chilies growing in my garden

Thai chili is also know as พริกขี้หนู (Prik Kee Noo) or Bird’s eye chili. It’s commonly found in South East Asian countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore.

 

These Thai chilis look small but they pack lots of heat inside the seeds. Please be careful if you’re not use to with the fresh chili heat. It’s more spicy than Mexico’s Habanero chili.

Thai gourmets commonly use fresh chili to cook many dishes such as yum (Thai spicy salad), namprik (น้ำพริก), som tam (green papaya salad), pad thai, spicy & sour soup (Tom Yam), pad thai, tom kha gai, green curry, red curry, chicken basil, etc.

Actually Thai chili is rich in vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and has numerous other health benefits. For example:

  • Helps stimulate the appetite of the stomach. If eating in a small volume reduces the occurrence of ulcers in the stomach.
  • Thai red and green hot chilies

    Thai hot chilies

  • Prevents from cancer, heart disease and stroke.
  • Helps relieve pain from muscles, shoulders, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Help burn fat and lose weights
  • Help clear mucus and reduce sinusities
  • Resolve pain, vomiting, tired
  • Help fight inflammation
  • Help Soothe Intestinal Diseases

We should all eat more Thai chili! If you don’t have a strong tolerance for the heat, avoid using the seeds in your food. Thai chili will give your food a kick, and make your life more spicy 🙂

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