Soak the dried shrimp in 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water (not listed) to soften. (Don't discard this soaking water!)
Wash the green papaya, peel, deseed, and julienne. Soak in water briefly to remove the bitterness.
Crush the peanuts.
Crush the garlic, add the rehydrated shrimp, and pound. When they are mashed, add the fresh green beans that were cut into 3 cm long pieces, and pound further.
Add the crushed peanuts and red chili pepper, then add the drained papaya. Pound and mix altogether until the papaya is wilted.
Combine the fish sauce, water from rehydrating the dried shrimp, and the lemon (lime) juice. Add to the mortar from Step 5, and lightly pound to let the flavors penetrate into the ingredients.
Add the cherry tomatoes, and lightly pound and mix altogether. Serve on a plate, and it's done.
I used ground red chili pepper this time. You can use fresh green chili pepper, or dried red chili pepper.
Story Behind this Recipe
I used to eat this salad a lot when I was in Thailand, and I always order it at Thai restaurants in Japan. Green papaya salad with peanuts is called "som tam thai," and it's mild and easy to eat. I added richness to the salad using the water from rehydrating the shrimps, and didn't use any artificial seasonings. It is hard to find a green papaya in Japan, but my friend sent me a fresh one, so I posted this recipe. Aroi!
Pound the ingredients well until they're wilted. You don't need to stick to the cooking steps precisely. After adding the seasoning ingredients, they will splatter if you pound too hard, so pound gently. You don't have to use a Thai mortar and pestle. You can use a regular mortar and pestle, or pound the ingredients in a thick plastic bag. Adjust the spiciness to your liking.