“Som tam is best known outside Thailand as ‘green papaya salad’, but it is actually less about the papaya and more about the process,” reveals former Masterchef Australia winner Adam Liaw. “Lightly pounding vegetables releases their juices which mix into a fresh, flavourful dressing.” With that in mind, Adam has created his own spin on som tam in his new cookbook Adam’s Big Pot: Easy Meals For Your Family (Hachette; $39.99). “This carrot and cucumber version is light and delicious, and you don’t need to track down green papayas, which aren’t always available,” explains Adam. Let’s tuck in!
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bird’s-eye chillies
1 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes (optional)
50ml lime juice
2 tsp coconut palm sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 continental cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut into matchsticks
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 cup green beans or snake beans, trimmed and cut into 5cm lengths
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup crushed roasted peanuts
TIP: For a larger meal, stir through some crab meat, cooked prawns or shredded chicken.