The real magic of som tam happens when the papaya is pounded to release its juice. In Thailand a large mortar and pestle set is used to pound all of the ingredients together, causing them to become slightly smashed and the shredded papaya and carrot to release moisture. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can still get the same result in a variety of ways. The first is to prepare the dish in a plastic mixing bowl and smash the salad with a muddler or meat tenderizer. I also recently read a recipe (which I’ve since misplaced) in which the author recommended placing the ingredients in a sealed plastic bag and smashing them gently with a rolling pin. Either of these methods would produce the right flavor and texture.