So far, there’s no one I know who doesn’t like Som Tam. If you are not familiar with Som Tam, it is a staple item in every Thai restaurants’ menu. “Som” means sour and “Tam” refers to the method that is used to make this salad. Typically the dish uses green papaya, but green mango is a pretty popular choice here too.
When I came across some green mangoes at the Thai Supermarket at Golden Mile Complex, I immediately grabbed half a dozen and came home to make this Green Mango Salad. Oh, I also picked up this bag of Thai pickling garlic. They are smaller than normal garlic and the flavor is milder, which is usually used for Thai salads. You could substitute with any other garlic too.
Generally, the flavor profile is nearly an equal mix of sweet, sour, spicy and salty. That being said, if you are making for kids or heat-intolerant members, feel free to adjust the heat level to your preference.
Although a Thai clay mortar and a wooden pestle is the official Som Tam-making equipment, you could also put the ingredients into a Ziploc bag and pound them with a rolling pin or even hammer. Ghetto style. After all, we are only bruising the ingredients to release their flavors and juices, not pulverize them. Since I’m a huge fan of Thai food, I have no qualms about getting this special equipment to complete my Som Tam making experience.
4 green mangoes – peeled and shredded into 3 – 5 inches long thin strips
1 to 2 tbsp Thai dried shrimp (I used Japanese dried shrimp)
10 cloves Thai pickling garlic (if unavailable, substitute with 1 large clove garlic)
3 shallots – peeled and slice very thinly
10 cherry tomatoes – sliced into half
2 red chili padi (or less)
2 tbsp yellow palm sugar (if unavailable, substitute with light brown sugar)
3 tbsp roasted peanuts – roughly chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp tamarind water
1 bunch coriander leaves – chopped
Recipe adapted from: Pok Pok Cookbook
Heat the raw peanuts in a small pan over low heat for 5 – 7 mins, until fragrant. When they are cooled, remove the skin and set aside. You could skip this step if using ready roasted peanuts.
Repeat the above same steps with the dried shrimps.
Pound the palm sugar, garlic and shallots together.
Add in dried shrimp, chili, tomatoes and peanuts, lightly pound them to release the juices.
Mix in the shredded green mango, fish sauce, lime juice, tamarind and bruise them lightly and not smash them. Use a spoon to help scoop the ingredients from the bottom for even distribution.
Give it a taste and adjust with more lime juice or fish sauce if necessary.
Toss in peanuts, coriander and mix well with a spoon.