The Union's Som Tum salad

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There are other ways to invite Thai flavours into your home than to just order takeout or make a complicated curry. Opt for something easy and light, like a green papaya salad. At Vancouver's The Union, chef Lisa Henderson creates mouth-watering dishes with influences from all over Southeast Asia, like this Som Tum salad with green papaya and shrimp. Here's her recipe for you to try at home.  


1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup palm sugar, grated
1/2 cup fish sauce
1 ½ tsp tamarind concentrate

In a large bowl, whisk all of the dressing ingredients together, making sure the sugar has dissolved.   

1 1 ½-lb green cooking papaya
1 lb Ocean Wise shrimp meat
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
2 Thai red chiles, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed and leaves torn
10 mint leaves, torn
1/2 cup peanuts, roasted and crushed
salt, to taste
banana leaves, optional, for garnish

Cut the papaya in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. In a food processor fitted with grating attachment, grate the papaya and set aside. 

Add enough oil to a heavy-bottomed large frying pan to cover the base and heat to 180 C. Toss the shrimp meat with a little cornstarch and shallow fry until cooked.

To assemble, in large bowl, add papaya, grape tomatoes, Thai red chilis, cilantro, mint, peanuts and a bit of salt.  Add dressing a little at a time. You want just enough to delicately coat the papaya. Divide among four plates lined with a banana leaf and arrange shrimps on the side.



4 servings