Healthy Food

Spicy Papaya Salad with Fresh Vegetables


This is no clear evidence that indicates when raw papaya was first used as the basis of this dish, but we can trace the history of papaya planting in Thailand. The plant originated in Central America and was brought to Southeast Asia by exploring Spaniards and Portuguese during the Ayutthaya period. The Dutch later brought chilis to Thailand during the reign of King Narai the Great and a French ambassador who visited Ayutthaya remarked that papaya was already growing so well that it had become a native plant of Siam as well as mentioning that it could be pointed with ingredients like garlic, lime, mango, dried shrimp, pickled fish, crispy fish, banana, sugar, cucumber, chili, and various nuts to make a spicy, raw salad.

As for the old cookbooks, ‘Tum Rab Yaowapa’ from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Prince Yaowapapongsanit, describes a food called ‘Papaya Salad with Oily Rice’ with the main ingredients being rice cooked in coconut milk. The recipe also contained ingredients like dried shrimp and peanuts, which are still seen in the central Thai version of the dish today, although it was clearly considerably milder than the standard northeastern or ‘E-Sarn’ version.

Papaya salad in the Laotion language is referred to as Tam Mak Hung or Tam Bak Hung (Mak Hung meaning papaya) or alternatively, Tum Som, ‘Tum’ meaning to pound and ‘Som’ meaning sour and the Thai ‘Som Tum’ is believed to be a reconfiguration of this.

Health Benefits

‘Spicy Papaya Salad with Fresh Vegetables’ is a fiery dish from the northeastern region. Popularly served with sticky rice and grilled chicken, the preparation of papaya salad involves chopping raw papaya before slicing it into strips, pounding it in a mortar and pestle, and seasoning with palm sugar, lime, fish sauce the indispensable “Plaraa” fermented fish. This dish is full of vital nutrients.

  • ‘Papaya’ helps fight free radicals.*
  • ‘Tomato’ has an antioxidant.**
  • ‘Bird’s eye chili’ helps soothe cold symptoms, runny nose, and phlegm.***
  • ‘Garlic’enhances the immunity.****
  • ‘Lime’ helps fight free radicals, reduce inflammation, and repair damaged cells from infection. It also inhibits the growth of viruses.*


  • palm sugar 28 gr
  • lime juice 24 gr
  • fish sauce 28 gr
  • green papaya 90 gr
  • cherry tomato 50 gr
  • dried shrimp 10 gr
  • roasted peanuts 20 gr
  • yardlong bean 24 gr
  • bird’s eye chili 3 gr
  • small garlic clove 4 gr


Pound the bird’s eye chili and garlic, add the tomato and yardlong beans.

Season with fish sauce, lime and palm sugar.

Add green papaya, pound until consistent.

Serve and sprinkle with dried shrimp and peanuts.

* Structure for peptides C01.001: papain. [online] source :. . 9 July 2020 ,
Rawlings, N.D., Barrett, A.J., Thomas, P.D., Huang, X., Bateman, A. & Finn, R.D. (2018) The MEROPS database of prot eolytic enzymes, their substrates and inhibitors in 2017 and a comparison with peptidases in the PANTHER database. Nucleic Acids Res 46, D624-D632.

** Wimon Srisuk. Department of Food Chemistry Faculty of Pharmacy Mahidol University Articles disseminate knowledge to the public. How to eat tomatoes to get high lycopene.
*** Vonne D., Ofelia G., Guillermo O., José P., & Tzayhrí G. (2014). Determination of Capsaicin, Ascorbic Acid, Total Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Capsicum annuum L. var. serrano by Mid Infrared Spectroscopy (Mid-FTIR) and Chemometric Analysis. Journal of the Korean Society for Applied Biological Chemistry, 57(1): 133-142.
**** Moutia M, et al. Review Article In Vitro and In Vivo Immunomodulatory Activities of Allium sativum L. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2018; Article ID 4984659.