Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) with Quinoa-Brown Rice

Hi dear readers! I know, I know…it’s been a while again, but lately, there have been lots of things going on and cooking, photography and blogging had to take the backseat. But today, I want to share with you a recipe I have been wanting to make for the longest time – a Thai Papaya Salad!


The reason why I could not make it before is because I had to hunt down a green papaya first! Yep, an unripe, green papaya like you can see in the picture below.


Since I was cooking for some girlfriends last Saturday, I made the big trip to the only Asian grocery store I know off in Miami-Dade county – I also wanted to come here for the longest time, but never made it either. Anyways, wow, it was a paradise!! WhileΒ living in Switzerland, it was really easy and convenient for me to go to the Asian grocery stores, there were several of them in Zurich, where I used to live. But Miami is really heavily geared towards the Hispanic community so that Asian groceries are much harder to find. You would have no problem though to find awesome Argentinian pastry or home-made Cuban food here!

Anyways, this salad is one of my favorite food in Thai cuisine. It’s so intense in flavor and refreshing at the same time. You really got to try this. And in case you also have a hard time finding a green papaya, you can substitute it with carrots, it’s not exactly the same, but works really well. My mum used to do that often when I was little, back then when we didn’t have that many Asian stores in Switzerland either.

Every time I go on vacation in Thailand, I eat tons of papaya salad, or as it is called in Thai, Som Tum. It’s usually really spicy, but I always order “not so spicy” please, maybe with just half a chili? :-) This was one beautiful plate of Papaya Salad I had on my last trip.


The beauty of this salad is also, although it has to come with some must-have ingredients, it’s really very customizable to your liking. Β My version is for example quite different from the one I ate at the restaurant, I usually don’t include the dried shrimp for example.

Anyways, I hope you’ll enjoy my version of the recipe – and I also added some Superfood sides to create a wholesome and light meal! This flavorful plate contains following Superfoods:

  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice

I am by the way also co-hosting Fiesta Friday Nr. 33 today, together with Andrea from the blog Cooking with a Wallflower! So if you are free, come and join the party! There are usually some mind-blowing and awesome creations that get shared at this virtual party over at Angie’s blog, The Novice Gardener πŸ˜‰

Okay, have a lovely weekend and enjoy the recipe! hugs, Sylvia


By thew way, this is how the solid coconut palm sugar looks like that I used for the salad. Palm sugar is a healthier sweetener than refined sugar and I love to use it to sweeten my food. In Thai cuisine it is traditionally used vey often as a sweetener – how good is that! πŸ˜‰

Palm-Sugar Papaya-Salad-1 Papaya-Salad-2 Papaya-Salad-4

Thai Papaya Salad (Som Tum) with Quinoa-Brown Rice
A classic Thai salad with a superfood side to create a delicious and wholesome entrΓ©e!
Recipe type: Salads
Cuisine: Thai
  • 1 green papaya
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 - 2 carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup peanuts
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (for vegetarians and vegans: substitute this with soy sauce instead)
  • 1 piece of palm sugar, dissolved in 3 tbsp water or 2 tbsp granulated palm sugar
  • 1 - 2 limes
  • Top: if you want your salad sweeter, more salty or sour, just modify the amount of palm sugar, lime and fish/ soy sauce!
  1. Cook the quinoa and the brown rice according to the instructions on the packaging - mix them together after they are done (note: the brown rice usually take about 15 minutes longer to cook the quinoa, so take that into account)
  2. Peel the papaya, use a vegetable grater to grate stripes and put into a bowl
  3. Do the same with the carrot and add them to the bowl too
  4. Crush the tomatoes, garlic and peanuts - if you have a mortar, perfect, if not, put them into a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or mug - add them to the papaya and carrot stripes
  5. Put the palm sugar into a small bowl and add a bit of water, put into the microwave for about 2 minutes to dissolve (or alternatively: use already crystallized palm sugar) - add to the salad
  6. Squeeze the limes, add fish sauce and mix everything every well - use your hands to mix if necessary
  7. Serve with the quinoa and brown rice mix and enjoy!



  1. chilinhtran says

    I La-la-la-LOVE Thai Salad! I eat a ton of this while traveling in Thailand since they’re so cheap and yummy. The level of spiciness was insane though, haha.

    I work for a foodtech company called Chicory and we would love to have you as a recipe partner. Are you interested?

  2. Pang @ circahappy says

    OMG!!! How can I miss this post of yours? Oh I know, I have been in Thailand since Sept, and hardly had time to check out any blogs at all. :(

    I wish you were in Thailand right now so we could go on ‘tasting’ all kinds of Som Tum together. I just realised that there are probably 10 different types of Som Tums I have not yet tried, and they all look pretty yummy.

    I love that you were determined to make it, and it looks so good, by the way. Bravo :)

  3. lapetitecasserole says

    Ah Sylvia… I know how you feel… in my case blogging was seated in the trunk, not even in the backseat!
    I’m glad I’m here again, cheering me up with this amazing salad! Lucky me, I have the asiatic neighbourhood not too far from my house… I’ll buy a green papaya as soon as possible! Have a great we!

  4. flavourphotos says

    Had to click on your post first of all – those vibrant, fresh colours are just too tempting.
    I really struggled finding time this FF to ‘go visiting’. Looks like I’ll make it just before this Friday πŸ˜‰

  5. Tina | Mademoiselle Gourmande says

    Oh Sylvia! This salad looks amazing! I’ve never really bothered to try papaya salad until my boyfriend introduced me to it. He loves this salad. Since we usually share our dishes I had it quite a few times and must say that my love for it has grown very much over the years. As you said it’s sooo refreshing yet really delicious with all the great ingredients. I’d swap the cashews for peanuts but apart from that I love your recipe. A well as the pictures, they are gorgeous! Have a lovely day! :)

  6. itsswayam says

    That looks mind blowing Sylvia!! Ans what colors… I love anything Thai..and will be making this soon! SO glad you found raw papaya and palm sugar..those are common here in India…and can I say, I am drooling all over that gorgeous blue plate! πŸ˜€

    • Sylvia says

      Thank you so much dear! Ah, yes, I am jealous now that those ingredients are so easy to find for you πŸ˜‰ I wish I could find green papaya easier, the palm sugar I can at least stock up and buy a few packs. I might do one with carrots only pretty soon, it’s not the same but makes an ok substitution. Let me know if you get to try it and how you liked it!

    • Sylvia says

      Thank you so much Naina! This salad is my absolute favorite in Thai cuisine, it’s so flavorful and fresh! Thanks for stopping by! πŸ˜‰ Loved your contribution to FF by the way, one of my favorites – the photos in the nature are stunning!!

  7. chefjulianna says

    I absolutely love green papaya salad, Sylvia!! I actually found some green papayas this summer, but never found the time to make the salad! Oh well, I will try again another time. This is a great recipe! πŸ˜€

    • Sylvia says

      Thanks so much dear Julianna! Oh, yes, if you found some green papaya, you must make this salad! I would make it way more often if green papayas could be found easier here! πŸ˜‰

    • Sylvia says

      Thank you so much dear Nancy! Love that plate too, love to photograph my Asian dishes on that one, because it looks so Asian to me πŸ˜‰ Thanks for stopping by!

    • Sylvia says

      Thank you so much! It’s my favorite too, so flavorful and light at the same time! I’d love to send some over to you! πŸ˜‰

    • Sylvia says

      Thank you so much my dear! I had lots of fun co-hosting the FF this week! So many great contributions!! And really loved your tart by the way, you are such a talented baker! hugs, Sylvia

    • Sylvia says

      Thank you so much! Oh, if you love it so much, you must try to make your own! Here where I live it’s not that easy to get green papaya salad, so I am really glad I was able to make my own πŸ˜‰

  8. Shari Kelley says

    Wow, such an interesting combination of flavors in this dish. I loved learning about it. I have not had papaya very often, so would like to try this, and see what it tastes like. Does the fact that the papaya is green change the taste of the papaya very much? Thanks for sharing this Sylvia!

    • Sylvia says

      Thank you so much dear Shari! πŸ˜‰ Yes, green papaya tastes really different from a ripe papaya. You could maybe compare it to carrot, but without the carrot taste, the green papaya itself actually doesn’t have that much taste, the sauce adds most of the flavor to it. Let me know if you get to try it! hugs & thanks for stopping by! Sylvia


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