Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Som Tum Lao with fermented fish sauce ( Pla Ra )

Som Tum Lao with fermented fish sauce ( Pla Ra ) or " Som Tum Pla Raa; ส้มตำใส่ปลาร้า" in Thai. This isn't really easy to find the Thai restaurant around here that has this recipe. I would like to thank you P'pom from West Bend, Wisconsin for hospitality us while we were Midwest last month and she give me a bottle of Pla Ra as a new kitchen gift including the recipe how to cook the Pla Ra sauce to make wonderful flavor for making Som Tum. Here I am going to share with you here and hope you enjoy it. This is my first time to cook Pla Ra in my kitchen. My husband who never experience it before. It may smell weird but its delicious. He never like my Somtum until I put tiny bit the fermented fish sauce or Pla Ra on Som Tum and now he likes it. Many people can't stands the Pla Ra smells, but once the food are done, I promise there won't be any smell and it tastes the best.

Ingredients for cook Pla Ra:
1) 1 Cup of fermented fish sauce ( Pla Ra )
2) 1/2 cup of water
3) 2 whole pickle garlic
4) 1 Tbsp water of pickle garlic
5) 2 Tbsp palm sugar
6) 1/2 tsp shrimp paste

Ingredients for Som Tum Pla Ra
1) 1 and 1/2 cup of shredded green papaya
2) 5 fresh chilies
3) 1 clove garlic
4) 2 Tbsp fish sauce
5) 3/4 palm sugar
6) 3 cooked fermented fish sauce
7) 8 grape tomatoes
8) 1/2 tamarind juice
9) 1 lime juice
10) 6 long green beans

1) This is fermented fish sauce from the bottle.
2) Open the bottle and pour the fermented fish sauce 1 cup into a small pot.
3) This is pickle garlic. Open it and gently pound then put into the pot.

4) In small pot, add all ingredients and turn on simmer until palm sugar dissolve.
5) Turn off the heat and remove from the heat.
6) When the sauce is cold, you can keep in refrigerator.

7) This is green papaya that you can find in Asian market.

8) Peel the fresh skin then wash the White milk off.
9) Prepare all of ingredients for Somtum that will be easier to take ingredients when we start to cook. Wash all vegetables that use with Som Tum Thai, tomato, lime, long green bean, fresh chilies and garlic.

10) In the mortar, coarsely pound fresh chilies, garlic, salt and small amount shredded green papaya.

11) Cut long green beans into 1 " strips then add into the mortar.

12) Cut tomato into small pieces then add to the mortar.
13) Add cooked fermented sauce, lime juice and palm sugar.
14) Add tamarind juice.
15) Fish sauce.
16) gently crush and mix thoroughly.
17) Add shredded green papaya.
18) Use pestle gently crush and spoon stir thoroughly.
19) Spoon into a plate.
20) Serve with steamed sticky rice and fresh vegetables like my husband is enjoying right now.


  1. Hi...looks good but just one question....on the picture of the ingredients there are dried shrimp and peanuts but they are not mentioned in the recipe. Are they to be mixed in ? Thnaks,


  2. Hi Geoff, I apologized for not being clear about the picture and recipe. I cooked two dishes on that time. I learned to cook Somtum Thai and Somtum Lao. My answer is in the recipe of som Tum Lao did not have peanut and dried shrimp in it. But I used peanut and dried shrimp with som Tum thai style . Thank you for pointing out I will get it fix as soon as possible. Happy nw year 2013

    1. No problem.....thanks for the fast reply.....and thanks also for the great website ! I made your Bamboo Shoot in Bai Yanang the other day and it was fantastic....next stop Num Prik Pla Tu !


  3. Wow! You are big fan of Thai food. Welcome. I am happy to hear you enjoy my site. I am going to Thailand on this Sunday 13th Jan.I am looking forward to be there to have real dish and learn some more Thai food. I am going to make sticky rice mangoes tonight. Where are you in the world ?:-)

  4. Thanks, it will be a good starting point. I just received a bottle of pla ra from Kalasin.