Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) recipe & day trip to Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken-Switzerland

It has almost been a month seen my last post. I do miss blogging but right now, my first priority is really the little one. Although I do not have much time right now but I have not given up cooking something nice at home. Recently we have a guest visiting from UK for dinner, I have prepared fish moolie and a Thai green papaya salad which I will write about today. Peter prepared a beef rendang the night before so to help me out that I did not need to stress out on top of taking care of our Baby Marc. I also prepare another curry called fish moolie, hope will have time to blog too. From now on, you will probably read more about our little one rather than my gourmet travel.

Having said that I am glad that we could still have some short day trips during weekends. Two weeks ago we visited Trümmerbäch glacier waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen of Interlaken. These are 10 glacier waterfalls inside the mountain which are made accessible by a tunnel lift. The Trümmerbäch alone drains the mighty glacier from Eiger (3970m), Jungfrau(4158m) and Mönch (4099m). This is the only glacier-waterfalls in Europe which are still accessible in Europe. I walked up with Marc in a baby carrier, he could continue sleeping like an angel without being woken up by the extremely loud noise from the waterfall at all, very amazing! That day, we had game for lunch as this is only available in Autumns. I had escalopes of venison with sauteed grapes and game cream sauce, Donna, my friend had Jugged chamois hunter’s style. And all game dishes are typically to have pear with cranberry sauce, red cabbage, brussel sprouts. chestnut and glazed chestnuts. That day I found the venison tasted better and more easily acceptable, the chamois tasted rather rugged.


So after further ado, I should go back to my Thai Green Papaya Salad. When I was in Hong Kong, most of them I tried were too spicy for my taste, this time I can adjust the spiciness myself, when I first made the garlic chili paste, I thought it may be too spicy for me and my guest but in the end it came out just right and like it very much. The original recipe called for tomatoes and carrots but instead I used red onion which I find the purple color blended very nicely with the green snake beans as well as the dried shrimps and the sweet onion taste and its crispy texture went with the green papaya even better then the tomatoes.

Recipe adapted from Temple of

Serves 6-8


  • 8 Thai small red chilies (bird eye chilies), cut into 3-4 pieces each
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and cut each into 2-3 pieces
  • 2 tbsp small dried shrimp, soaked in the water for a while and discard the water, chopped briefly
  • 1  unripe green papaya, peeled and julienned, make about 4 cups
  • 1 cup long snake beans cut into 3-4cm long pieces
  • 2 small red onion (make about 1 cup), cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup tamarind juice concentrate
  • juice of 2-3 limes
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp  brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts, using a pestle and mortar


  1. Prepare the ingredients as indicated.
  2. To make tamarind concentrate: Start by compressing  tamarind in warm water. Work the tamarind with your fingers to dissolve the soft fruit; gather up remaining undissolvable pulp, squeeze to extract juice and discard. Pour the tarmarind juice to a saucepan and bring to boil and then simmer to make into a concentrate juice. Use 1/4 cup for this recipe, the remaining can be kept in the fridge for other uses such as Pad Thai (Thai Fried Rice Noodles).
  3. Use a handheld blender to whiz the garlic and chilies into a paste.
  4. Panfry the dried shrimp and snake beans briefly.
  5. Place the julienned green papaya, red onion, dried shrimps and snake beans into a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix well. Then add in the garlic chili paste.
  6. Mix the tamarind, lime juice, fish sauce and brown sugar in a small bowl. Make sure the sugar is dissolved completely. Then mix into the green papaya. Let it stand for a while before serving so the green papaya can absorb the hot and sour salad dressing. Just before serving, mix in the chopped peanuts.
  7. Transfer to a serving plate and with chopped peanuts.


Green papaya is actually unripe papaya, it can be bought in Asian grocery stores. One thing I learnt just recently is that green papaya and fish soup is said to help producing more milk for nursing mothers.

18 thoughts on “Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) recipe & day trip to Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken-Switzerland

  1. For green papaya we can buy this easily because there are quite a lot Thai people living in Switzerland. However for other Chinese cooking ingredients, we are not as lucky.

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