ส้มตำแอปเปิ้ล (Apple Som Tum)
First published on November 27, 2016
Recipe by W. Tipsuwan
Som Tum is a traditional Thailand-style salad, usually made with green, unripened papaya. In some modern Thai recipes other fruits and vegetables are now used, creating a fusion with western flavors. This green apple salad recipe has a dressing made with tamarind fruit, lime juice, toasted rice, coconut sugar, fresh spearmint, and a small pinch of hot chili. It's has a delicious combination of sweet and sour, nutty, minty, and slightly spicy flavors, yet it is also fresh and clean, allowing the crisp and tart taste of a perfect Granny Smith green apple to come through.
This combination of ingredients will produce a nice dressing with plenty of flavor. However, in Thailand most salads are custom-made to order so you can tell the cook you want more chili, it sweeter, etc. I use just a little hot chili so it is spicy, but not too much so it overwhelms the other flavors. You can leave the chili out if you don't like spicy foods, and it will still be delicious.
Combine the coconut sugar with fish sauce in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on low for a minute or so, just until the sugar melts and blends with the fish sauce to make a thick syrup. You can also use a small pan over low flame. Heat it slowly so it doesn't boil or scorch.
Stir the syrup well to be sure that all the sugar has dissolved, then allow it to cool.
Pluck the whole mint leaves from the stems, saving a few sprigs to use later as a garnish.
After the fish sauce syrup has cooled down to slightly warm, add the tamarind paste, lime juice, toasted and ground rice, and chili flakes. Stir until well blended, then sit aside while you prepare the apple.
You can cut your apple in a variety of ways, either dice it or slice it. I like to use a very small julienne style shredder, so the salad is more like a slaw. Here I shred the apple on one side until it almost reaches the core.
Next cut the second half off, leaving the thick slice from the center.
Continue shredding the second half of the apple until you have just a small pice left, then cut that piece in two.
You can just shred or cut the whole apple, but I think it's nice to arrange the pieces on the side so you can see that it is a green apple dish.
Pile the shredded apple on loosely so the dressing can flow through everywhere.
Stir the fresh mint leaves into the dressing lightly.
Now spoon the dressing over the shredded apple, and drizzle some around the plate.
Sprinkle with a little more toasted ground rice over everything. Note: This rice is a packaged product that is available in the spices section of supermarkets in Thailand. It is quite easy to make. Heat raw white rice kernels in frying pan over low flame. Keep stirring and shaking until the rice becomes golden brown. Allow it to cool, then grind using a mortar and pestle.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, and sprinkle a little hot chili flake over it all, if desired. Serve with lime wedges and extra chili flake on the side.