Chicken som tum

Allegra McEvedy translates the sharp and sour flavours of a traditional Thai salad, usually made with green papaya, into a rather more meaty affair
By Allegra McEvedy
Chicken som tum
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 60 g peanuts
  • 1 carrot, peeled, cut into matchsticks
  • 40 g bean sprouts
  • 100 g cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 large vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 50 g fine beans, cut into 2cm batons
  • 75 g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tsp chopped mint leaves
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1-2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 250 g chicken breasts
  • 3 birds eye chillies, thinly sliced
  • 3 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.

2. Scatter the peanuts over a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 5-6 minutes, or until golden-brown. Allow to cool, then roughly chop.

3. Place the carrot, bean sprouts, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, fine beans and mushrooms into a bowl and mix well to combine. Add the coriander, mint leaves and spring onions and mix well.

4. In a small bowl, mix together the fish sauce, the juice of one lime, one tablespoon of the peanut oil, and 1-2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce, to taste. Set aside.

5. Place the chicken breast in between two sheets of cling film and flatten using a rolling pin or meat mallet. Thinly slice the chicken into strips.

6. Heat the remaining peanut oil in a frying pan and fry the chicken and chillies for 3-4 minutes, then add the tamarind paste and sesame seeds, turning frequently, or until golden-brown all over.

7. To serve, drizzle the fish sauce dressing over the salad and toss well to coat. Pile the salad onto a plate. Arrange the chicken over the top, then drizzle over any pan juices. Scatter over the roasted peanuts and serve with wedges of lime.

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