1. Roughly crush a small handful of unsalted peanuts with mortar and pestle and set aside.
2. Wipe the mortar and pestle clean.
3. Melt palm sugar in a small pan at low or medium heat; adding 2 tablespoons of water.
4. The cooking process should form shiny and thick syrup. This makes it easier to mix the sugar with the salad.
5. Peel the papaya (or swede), shred it with a shredder (or a mandolin slicer) to thin stripes and soak them in cold water while you prepare the rest of the salad.
6. This makes the papaya crunchier and gets rid of any excess starch from the swede.
7. Cut the green beans into one-inch pieces and throw away the endings.
8. Take the chilies and peeled garlic and give them a gentle bash with mortar and pestle.
9. You still ought to see bits and pieces, not a puree.
10. Add the shrimps and continue bashing.
11. Add the crushed peanuts and mix well.
12. Add the shredded papaya and continue bashing, but not too hard, just enough so the mixture soaks up the flavors.
13. Use a bigger table spoon as a support tool, that way you can shift the salad in the mortar and it doesn't fall out while bashing and mixing.
14. Add the liquid palm sugar, tomatoes, beans, lime juice and fish sauce.
15. Continue to lightly bash, shift with the spoon, and mix a little more.
16. Serve on a big dish or bowl, sprinkle some crushed peanuts on top!
The famous Thai Som Tam Salad gets revamped in an English kitchen. Watch this video to see how you can improvise on regional dishes if you can't find the right ingredients. This salad is as good as a traditional one. Try it, it's delightful!