Green Papaya Salad

Green Papaya Salad Recipe

While green papaya may seem a world apart from the tender orange tropical fruit we all know, green papayas aren’t a different species of papaya. They’re simply immature papayas that have not yet begun to ripen. When green, they have white flesh, a neutral flavor and crunchy carrot-like texture making them perfect for salads.

While green papaya is eaten in salads across Southeast Asia, each region has it’s own version. In Thailand green papaya salad is called Som Tam and is made with a giant mortar and pestle. Garlic and chilies are first crushed to release their flavors. Then, long beans, dried shrimp and peanuts are added and crushed. This not only tenderizes them, but it also helps them absorb more dressing. Finally the tomatoes, shredded papaya and dressing go in and get mixed together.

To replicate this without the mortar and pestle, I do a couple things differently. First, I add the garlic and chilies to the dressing and puree it in a food processor or blender. If you can’t tolerate a lot of heat, it might be best to leave them out or to scrape out the seeds and white membranes first to reduce the heat. Next, I pound the green beans(or long beans if you can find them) and dried shrimp using a mallet or meat tenderizer. Finally, all the ingredients go into a bowl and get tossed together.

Ingredients for Green Papaya Salad

The resulting salad is a sweet, sour, spicy and savory medley of tastes, with crunchy, crisp, chewy and tender textures which make it a lot of fun to eat, especially on a hot summer day when your appetite has gone into hibernation.

When you’re choosing a green papaya, it’s important that you get one that is very green. Look for ones with smooth uniformly vibrant green skin that don’t give when pressed with your thumb. If it’s pale green or has a hint of yellow on the skin, chances are it’s already started to ripen.

Because the shredded papaya tends to get soggy if you let it sit, it’s best to eat the salad as soon as you dress it. If you’re not planning on eating it right away, prepare everything ahead of time, and keep the vegetables separate from the dressing in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

If you’re vegan, you can just leave out the dried shrimp and substitute white soy sauce for the fish sauce.

Equipment you'll need:

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    Green Papaya Salad
  • Thai green papaya salad with green beans, tomatoes, dried shrimp and roasted peanuts, dressed with a sweet, spicy, sour, and savory dressing.
ServingsPrep Time
4 sides 10 minutes


  • 1/3 cup lime juice (~ 1 1/2 limes)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 grams garlic (~1 clove)
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • Thai bird chilies (to taste)
  • 500 grams green papaya (~1 small papaya)
  • 150 grams tomatoes (~2 small tomatoes) cut into bite-size pieces
  • 80 grams green beans trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 50 grams peanuts crushed
  • 15 grams dried shrimp (optional)
  • 7 grams cilantro (~1 plant) leaves plucked
Servings: sides


  1. Put the fish sauce, lime juice, chiles, garlic and palm sugar in a blender or small food processor. Puree the mixture. You can also mince the chiles and grate the garlic and whisk the dressing together.
  2. Peel the papaya and slice it in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the white seeds and pith from the center.
  3. Shred the papaya using a mandoline or a papaya shredder into a large bowl.
  4. Pound the green beans and dried shrimp with a mallet to tenderize.
  5. Add the green beans, dried shrimp, tomatoes, peanuts, and cilantro.
  6. Pour the dressing on top and toss to coat.
  • Blur ting

    Many of us have papaya trees growing in our backyard, so it’s an all time favourite that’s so easy to rustle up.

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  • cloudy

    i love this salad! when green papaya is difficult to find, broccoli stems make a surprisingly reasonable substitute!

  • Yogicfoodie

    My favorite salad… I have a plate sitting next to my comp. right now.

  • Yuko Nakazawa

    where did you get your green papaya? FYI i live in nyc.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      I got in at an Okinawan grocery store in Sapporo, but you should be able to find green papaya at any Chinese produce market in NYC. If that doesn’t work, there’s a Thai grocery store on Mosco Street that will definitely have it:

  • Sonam pelden

    One of my fav salad …. It goes well chicken fry ….. Yummy


I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!