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Recipe: Pranee's Som Tum with peanut and lime dressing

Serves 4 as a side dish

Som Tum is a well-known Northern Thai salad that has become a popular national dish. If green papaya is not available, shredded carrot, cabbage or zucchini may be used instead. Use a mandolin to grate the papaya into shreds, about 1 inch long and 1/8 inch across.

3 garlic cloves, peeled

3 Thai chilies, whole

1 to 2 tablespoons palm sugar

4 tablespoons dry roasted peanuts, divided

2 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice

5 cherry tomatoes, halved or 2 large tomatoes cut into wedges

cup string beans, cut into 1-inch lengths

2 cups shredded green papaya, about 8 ounces

10 to 15 dried shrimps, optional

1. To make the dressing: Use a wooden pestle to crush the garlic, chilies, palm sugar and 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts in a clay mortar until it forms a paste. With the pestle, stir the fish sauce and lime juice in a circular motion until blended. (If no mortar and pestle are available, blend the garlic, chilies, palm sugar, 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts, fish sauce and lime juice in a blender until smooth.)

2. With the pestle, gently mix the remaining roasted peanuts, tomatoes, string beans, shredded papaya and shrimp (if using) by pushing the ingredients against one side of the mortar; use a large spoon to lift up on the opposite side. Repeat a few times until well incorporated. (If not using a mortar and pestle, mix the rest of the peanuts, string beans, tomatoes, papaya and shrimp in a bowl and pour the dressing over the salad, gently mixing the ingredients by hand until they are well-coated with the dressing.) Serve at once.

Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen, 2005