Make Andy Oliver's green papaya salad

Get your chops round Thai food's punchy flavours with this classic – and surprisingly easy-to-make – dish by Andy Oliver of Som Saa

Green papaya salad

Serves 2-4

Preparation time 20 mins

Cooking time 5 mins

Thai food's punchy flavours have long inspired UK chefs – not least Andy Oliver of cult restaurant Som Saa. This classic green papaya salad showcases them all, starting with sweet, then moving on to sour, spicy and salty. Be warned: it's got a kick, so wash it down with plenty of Singha beer.


  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 2 tbsp dried prawns, rinsed and drained (can be found in almost any Asian store nowadays)
  • 2 slices or small wedges of lime (optional)
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 snake beans, cut into 1 cm lengths (can substitute with fine green beans)
  • 4-6 bird's eye chillies, to taste
  • 1 small green papaya, shredded
  • 2 tbsp shaved palm sugar, to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp tamarind water


  1. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic with the salt then add the peanuts and dried prawns and pound to a coarse paste.
  2. Add the lime (if using), bruising it with the pestle, then add the cherry tomatoes and beans to the mortar and carefully work everything together.
  3. Next add the bird’s eye chillies, barely crushing them.
  4. Finally, add the green papaya and lightly bruise with the pestle, while turning and tossing the mixture with a large spoon held in your other hand.
  5. Season the salad with palm sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and tamarind water. It should taste sweet, sour, hot and salty – in that order. Follow Singha beer on Twitter and Facebook.