Thai sum tom salad (with tempeh for vegetarians and grilled chicken for the carnivores)

This is one salad guaranteed to make your tastebuds zing!

Thai Sum Ton Salad with fried tempeh

Ingredients (enough for 4 starters or 2 dinner-sized portions)

1 small clove garlic, peeled

2 red chillies

2 limes, juiced

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon tamarind juice

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons palm sugar

300 grams green papaya, peeled and shredded

1 large carrot, peeled and shredded

Green papayas and red chillies, beautiful together!

250 grams cucumber, deserved and sliced as thinly as possible

1/2 red pepper, sliced thinly

50g roasted (salted) peanuts

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

Coriander/parsley to garnish

120 grams tempeh, sliced and cubed (I toss these tempeh pieces in seasoned flour)

1 large chicken breast, pounded flat – 1/2 teaspoon of celery salt and a dash of paprika and rub it all over the chicken on both sides

* I make my seasoned flour by mixing 1/2 teaspoon of celery salt with 1/4 cup of plain flour and 1/2 teaspoon of black or white pepper *

Crunchy goodness in a bowl


Put all your vegetables in a large salad bowl and set aside.

In a mortar and pestle, pound the chillies, garlic and palm sugar together. Then add all the liquid ingredients and mix well. You can adjust the flavour by adding more chillies if you’d like it hotter, more sugar if it’s too sour or more lime juice if you prefer your salads to really zing!

After you’ve made your dressing, add about a cm deep of vegetable oil into a frying pan to heat.

Shake off any excess flour from the tempeh and once your oil is hot, gently drop your tempeh cubes into the oil. Fry your tempeh evenly on all sides until they turn a golden brown.

Fish them out with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper to drain off the oil.

For the one with grilled chicken, grill your chicken either in the oven or use a griddle pan. If you’re using an oven, grill it at 210 – 220 degrees celsius and cook it for approximately 8-10 minutes on each side. Slice the chicken into strips before stacking them on top of your dressed salad.

This is the version with grilled chicken and coconut rice. To make coconut rice, cook your rice as per normal but replace 1/4 cup of water with 1/4 cup of coconut milk. Throw in a kaffir lime leave if you have it – dried’s fine!

When you are ready to serve your salad, break the tempeh up with your vegetables and drench both with the dressing you’ve made. Serve your salad garnished with the toasted sesame seeds, peanuts and coriander/parsley over the top.

It’s hot, sweet, sour, spicy and savoury all at the same time, oh yeah!

4 Responses to “Thai sum tom salad (with tempeh for vegetarians and grilled chicken for the carnivores)”
  1. Cara says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. This is one of my FAVORITE dishes!!!! Wait, I forgot another !
    I cannot wait to make this at home–yours looks so good, just like in the restaurants. Better yet, I’m inviting you over to make it for me 🙂

  2. TheGrubDaily says:

    This looks amazing, I can’t wait to try out the recipe!

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