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Álvaro Ramírez

Álvaro Ramírez

19 March 2024 Som tam salad dressing recipe (improvised)

Lately, I've been slightly obsessed with Som Tam, a magnificent salad packing both crunch and flavour.

I didn't have all the right ingredients for the full-blown salad at home, so I set out to experiment with the dressing's punchy flavours. While I've gone a little rogue here, I mean no disrespect to the faithful recipe and all its glory. Luckily, I did have fish sauce at home, which I considered the core ingredient, and made do with everything else I could find.

This is where I landed:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Thai chillies to taste (improvised with chilli flakes)
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoons of palm sugar (improvised with honey)
  • 2 limes squeezed (improvised with lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried shrimp (didn't have any)
  • 1 small plum tomato (I used 2 of those bite-size ones)

Using my trusty mortar and pestle, I ground and crushed the garlic, chilli flakes, and tomato, forming a paste of sorts. Then added the remaining liquids (fish sauce, honey and lemon) diluting the paste.

  • 2 tablespoons of roasted peanuts (roasted some cashews)

Most recipes seem to suggest using peanuts, though my local Thai restaurant uses cashews. Luckily I had cashews at home, so I'm copied my local. Roasted them on pan for a few minutes.

As you can imagine, I didn't just have a green papaya laying around at home, so I experimented with other crunchy veggies. While I won't reveal what the other veggies were (oh man, I've gone way off script), both my other half and I were happy with the results.

Som Tam dressing packs an awesome punch. If your salads were feeling a little boring, give this a try!