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Som Tum with Cabbage and Cashews

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 6
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef


  • 2 cups whole, unsalted cashews (you can buy these roasted or raw, but I recommend doing an extra roast as outlined below even if they are labeled “roasted” so that they get a nice, toasty flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. thai chili paste (store-bought or using this nam prik pao recipe)
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 3 tsp. palm sugar (substitute: 3 tsp. light brown sugar)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-3 red or green small bird’s eye chilis, to taste
  • 2 cups shredded carrot
  • 1 cup green snake beans or regular green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 small head white cabbage (very thinly sliced, as would be used in a slaw)
  • extra slices of lime, for garnish


  • In a small pan, dry roast cashews over medium high heat, tossing frequently. Roast until nuts are nearly blackened in small spots, about 4 minutes.
  • Combine the lime juice, chili paste, fish sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk to combine evenly. Taste and adjust, if desired. Set aside.
  • Using a mortar and pestle set, gently pound the garlic and bird’s eye chili until both crushed and broken into small pieces. Add carrot and beans to the mortar and pound until carrots are moist and beans are crushed. Pour contents of mortar into a small bowl. Add cabbage and cashews. Add liquid into the bowl a bit at a time until vegetables are heavily dressed, stirring to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve within a couple hours, garnished with lime wedges.


Make sure to mix up the sauce first, and adjust to your taste. If you like spice, most Thai people would be happy to hear that you’ve tossed some extra chilis into the mix.