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Thread: Som Tam?

  1. #1
    Member meow's Avatar
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    Som Tam?

    I have just started getting into cooking, and I want to make som tam. Since I live in the UK (and nowhere near an Asian food store) I need to buy a pestle & mortar.

    I have heard that the stone ones are useless for making som tam, and that I should get a ceramic one instead? Anyone know which one I should buy?

    Thanks!

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    Sprayed On Member
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    Funnily enough I was out shopping the other day with the wife and complaining about the 360bt price of garlic crushers in Tops (I got one from Makro in the end for 70bt btw) and the wife said why don't I use a pestle & mortar.

    Ours is a stone one and she makes som tam in it all the time.

    She then went on to brag about how it is a Thai invention. When i questioned her she said she knew this because Jamie Oliver had said it on his show when he was making som tam.

    I googled it in the shop and found that they have been around since before historical records were kept and artifacts of thousand year old + ones were being discovered all over the world.

    Anyway, to make a long story longer, get a stone one. A ceramic one will grind into a finer paste but they are more brittle.

  3. #3
    Molecular Mixup
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    this one looks good from argos



    Cookworks Signature Granite Pestle and Mortar.

    015/4547

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    Thailand Expat
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    we use a granite stone pistle and mortar as well. seems to be the standard for every household.

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    Wooden pestle & mortar for som tam.

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    FP: I tried that, got a garlic press from UK, mrs used it once, washed and put it away right at the back of the cupboard, then squatted and started banging away with mortar and pestle.

    We really shouldn't go out of our way to make life difficult for these luvlies.

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    You can get green papaya in the UK?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Humbert
    You can get green papaya in the UK?
    Probably not easy to find. Some places use carrot instead (I can't see that working very well though).

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    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Wife uses a granite one, and has for years. She is currently enrolled in a gourmet chef course, and all of theirs are granite as well.

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    When I lived in the US, the Thai restaurants could never make somtam. Owners told me they could not get the proper papaya. But your right Marmers, you could probably find a workable subsitute.

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    Can someone post a recipe please.

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    The Northern style somtam is not to my liking. I like somtam Thai. I find the whole minnow and crab thing to be downright inedible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Humbert View Post
    When I lived in the US, the Thai restaurants could never make somtam. Owners told me they could not get the proper papaya. But your right Marmers, you could probably find a workable subsitute.
    Not sure where your from Humb but on the East coast near DC, Northern Va and in South Cent Pa, there are plenty of Asian Markets that get their produce from locally grown farmers, probably Asian themselves, which is identical from that grown in the respective Asian countries. Seeds were surely brought in. We always had the correct type of Papaya and other produce to make the home style way.

    Had Som Tom with carrots and it was palitable but not as good as the real MaCoy!
    "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff....and it is all small stuff"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Humbert View Post
    The Northern style somtam is not to my liking. I like somtam Thai. I find the whole minnow and crab thing to be downright inedible.
    Me too. I prefer the Som Tom Thai rather than the Issan style.

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    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^^Yep. Northern Virginia is loaded with Asian markets. You can get your favorite type of rice, fresh vegetables just like the ones in Asia, DVD's, and just about anything else - other than the happy endings.

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    You could do a fruit som tam which doesn't need papaya.

    apples
    grapes
    rose apple
    guava
    pineapple
    shredded carrot
    cherry tomatoes
    long green beans
    garlic
    chilli
    lemon juice
    fish sauce
    dried shrimps
    peanuts
    that cane sugar - the solid blocks, not the granulated stuff

    But really you need a mortar and pestle like this:



    The granite ones will just crush everything, but you just need to bruise the fruit to release some juice and flavours.
    The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

  17. #17
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^Sounds kind of interesting. Will pass this along to the Mrs. Thanks.

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    Thailand Expat klong toey's Avatar
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    Last edited by klong toey; 25-09-2010 at 01:39 PM.

  19. #19
    I am in Jail

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    I have two mortar/pestle sets. One is granite and the other Japanese ceramic with grooves in the mortar dish side that really get the juices out.
    Not a big Thai food eater, but I do like som tam about once a year. Loved it when the Thai lady sauntered down our soi everyday with her baskets over her shoulder. I always went for the chicken.
    Basic ingredients as I remember are green papaya, green beans, tomato, dried prawns, unsalted roasted peanuts, chillies, garlic, fish sauce, pinch of sugar and black peppercorn, tamarind and lime juice. Mebbe get the papaya at the Chinese or Asian grocer. Or try carrot and Japanese daikon as a papaya substitute. We always have to improvise.
    Happy meal to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    Some places use carrot instead (I can't see that working very well though).
    While obviously not as nice as the real mackoy it's not a bad substitute.

    Have had it with continental cucumber a few times, quite nice too.

  21. #21
    Member rangmak's Avatar
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    Wooden pestle and mortar. Wife has a som tom stand, and she refuses to use stone or ceramic. Best som tom is made with cucumber; chopped the way you would do the papaya.

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    Quote Originally Posted by keda
    I tried that, got a garlic press from UK, mrs used it once,
    Quote Originally Posted by keda
    We really shouldn't go out of our way to make life difficult for these luvlies.
    It was for me.

  23. #23
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    No payaya in New Zealand. We eat carrot pok pok.

  24. #24
    Member meow's Avatar
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    WOW! I didn't expect so many replies. I have weighed up the pros and cons of types of p&m, and have decided to go for this one Pestle and mortar from Thai Food Online as it is a good price, is larger than most and is ideal for som tam.

    It will have to do in the meantime until I can save up enough to get back out to Asia. The UK is driving me nuts!!!

  25. #25
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    "An earthenware 9 inch mortar, with a wooden pestle." From your link.

    Exactly what all the women use round my area. Have fun.

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