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
- Using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic with the salt then add the peanuts and dried prawns and pound to a coarse paste.
- 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.
- Next add the bird’s eye chillies, barely crushing them.
- 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.
- Season the salad with palm sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and tamarind water. It should taste sweet, sour, hot and salty – in that order.