My Thai: Corn Som Tam with Shrimp

Leela Punyaratabandhu

If you like the classic Som Tam (green papaya salad), you may also like this version featuring plump, barely-cooked corn which has in recent years become a favorite among Bangkokians.

It's easier to make as well. At least there's no need to peel and grate a green papaya (if you can find one in your area at all). You still have to slice the corn kernels off the cobs, though. But that's still a heck of a lot easier.


Wait, it gets better.

To make things even less of a hassle, I've devised a method of making this salad without a mortar. Sure, considering that the "Tam" in Som Tam—the Thai word for "to pound"—dictates the use of a mortar and pestle, this is going to be heretical. But those of you who can't find/don't want to buy/can't afford to buy a clay mortar-pestle set, you can join this cult.

Lastly, if I'm picky about anything when it comes to this salad, it's the corn. Use fresh corn only. Take advantage of the summer corn.

In Thailand, the most common type of corn is the starchier, heartier, less sweet type. Texture is important. This means frozen corn kernels are out of the question, and if you're harboring a thought of using frozen corn, I'd like to strongly encourage you to expel that thought. Please?