After a short break last week, I’m back to talking about the Thai food class at Relish Cooking Studio!
I think this salad was among my favourite dishes that we enjoyed at the class. It was fresh, crisp, and very different from the typical salad. First, I hadn’t realized there was more than one variety of papaya. I expected the salad to be sweet and spicy. It was definitely not sweet. Actually, I didn’t find it overly spicy either. I really like the lime-based salad dressing. It would probably taste very good on a spinach salad!
When learning how to make this salad, we had a brief lesson on Thai chilies. I learned a lot.
First, we learned how to choose our chilies according to our desired spiciness. The long Thai chilies are mild, while the smaller chilies are spicier. The richness of the colour doesn’t relate to the spiciness. (Who knew?) I used to buy the smaller chilies so I wouldn’t have as many chili pieces in the dish. Turns out I was actually using the spicier chilies!
Second, we learned some safety tricks when chopping peppers. Akeela suggested wearing gloves to avoid any contact with the pepper. After an unfortunate encounter with a jalapeño pepper, I highly support this idea! While it may seem a bit over the top, you will understand if you’ve ever accidentally touched your eyes after handling a hot pepper. You may recall, I posted about ways to relieve burning caused by contact with hot peppers a few months back when I was just starting this blog.
Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad with Peanuts and Chilies)
Recipe by Akeela Rabley from Relish Cooking Studio
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled – approximate cost $0.15
- 1 long red Thai chili pepper, seeded and chopped finely – approximate cost $0.10
- 1 ounce of unsalted roasted peanuts (whole or pieces, your choice) – approximate cost $0.50
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried shrimp (optional) – approximate cost $0.50
- 2 tablespoons of palm sugar (or brown sugar) – approximate cost $0.25
- 1/4 cup lime juice – approximate cost $0.50
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce – approximate cost $0.20
- 3 1/2 ounces cherry (or grape) tomatoes, halved – approximate cost $2.00
- 4 cups of green papaya, peeled and grated – approximate cost $2.00
- 2 shallots, finely sliced – approximate cost $0.50
- 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves – approximate cost $1.00
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves – approximate cost $1.00
- Combine the garlic and chilies in a food processor, and mix until they form a paste.
- Add the peanuts and mix until roughly chopped.
- Add the shrimp, sugar, lime, and fish sauce to the paste and mix well.
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the tomato pieces and lightly squish.
- Add the papaya, shallots, basil, and cilantro to the mixing bowl, and toss well to coat the ingredients with the sauce.
Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.18 per serving).