Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad) is my very favorite Thai dish. It’s crunchy, salty and spicy and I swear that it will cure whatever ails you – known or unknown. Here in Tucson it’s really hard to get fresh green papaya, so I use packaged coleslaw mix instead.
Green Papaya-less Salad (Spicy Thai Coleslaw)
One bag of pre-shredded coleslaw mix. Either with or without carrots.
5 Grape Tomatoes or other cherry sized tomatoes, halved
1 or 2 Thai Chilies – you can substitute with a Serrano chili if necessary
2 tsp. sugar
1 clove garlic
1 1/3 T. Thai Fish Sauce -available at most supermarkets or From Thai Kitchen online.
3 Mexican/Key Limes or 1 regular sized lime
2 T. Peanuts, chopped – optional if you are allergic.
1 T. Dried Shrimp, or 1/4 c. salad shrimp (optional)
In a large bowl, gently pound the garlic and tomatoes with a meat mallet or the back of a large spoon. Be careful not to hit the tomatoes too hard or they will splatter and hit you in the eye. The idea is to bruise the tomatoes so that you release their juices, not smash them to bits. Add all of the other ingredients and mix well.