Originally from Isan, Northeastern Thailand, it's probably the best known of Thai salads. Traditionally prepared in clay mortar and using a wooden pestle, its recipe is subject to many regional variations. Here is a method full of flavours to prepare this salad without any animal product.
Quantities are given for 1 mortar (1 person as a main course or 2 people as a starter).
1 garlic clove
1 fresh bird's eye chili (for a medium spicy salad)
1 snake bean, cut into 3 cm lengths
175 grams green papaya, grated
4 cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
20 g unsalted peanuts, dry roasted
20 g unsalted pumpkin seeds, dry roasted
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons tamarind juice
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
100 grams of fresh rice noodles
Coarsely crush the garlic clove and the bird's eye chilli. Add the snake bean and pound lightly. The purpose is to soften the ingredients, not to puree them. Add the seasoning and mix with the mortar and a large spoon. Be careful, once you have added the seasoning, do not look inside the mortar while you are pounding, you could get splashed in the eyes!
Add the green papaya. Using the spoon and pestle, mix and pound to soften. Add the cherry tomatoes and pound lightly, so that they open and release their juice. Taste to adjust the seasoning and transfer to a serving dish with the rice noodles.