Spicy Green Apple Salad (ยำแอบเปิ้ล)

thai salad
I made this impromptu salad the other day as the topping for a piece of pan-fried halibut. It was nothing special — just a simple salad that is normally made with grated green mangoes. Actually, I think I’ve come to like this version made with tart and crisp Granny Smith apples much more.

It’s the crunch. I like the crunch.

Spicy Green Apple Salad (ยำแอบเปิ้ล)
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad, Condiment
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: Makes 2 cups
  • One medium Granny Smith or very firm and tart apple
  • One medium (50g) shallot
  • Two small tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • Lime juice, to taste
  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Dried red pepper powder, to taste
  • About 2-3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves
  1. Put 2-3 cups of iced water in a bowl; keep it handy.
  2. Core the apple and cut it in half. Slice each half lengthwise into thin slices. Make stacks of 4-5 apple slices and cut them lengthwise again into thin matchsticks.
  3. Soak the apple matchsticks in the prepared iced water.
  4. Slice the shallot thinly lengthwise.
  5. In a mixing bowl, toss together the shallot slices, tomatoes, the well-drained apple matchsticks, and cilantro.
  6. Season to taste with fish sauce, lime juice, and dried red pepper powder.
  7. Serve immediately as a topping for grilled or pan-fried fish. (This salad goes particularly well with a piece of halibut, lightly salted, dusted with flour, and pan-fried until the skin is golden brown and crispy and the flesh is moist and flaky.)
Variations: Throw in about ¼ cup of roasted cashews. Perhaps some grilled shrimp?


16 Responses to Spicy Green Apple Salad (ยำแอบเปิ้ล)

  1. Tanvi September 7, 2011 at 1:53 am #

    This is great! My parents often substitute recipes that call for green mango with granny smith apples because they are so easily available compared to green mangoes. I love that others do this as well!

  2. Eva September 7, 2011 at 2:00 am #

    I need to find some fish sauce ASAP.

  3. Mihnea September 7, 2011 at 2:08 am #

    I’ve had this before, though with a bit less chilly and a spoonful of cashews.

  4. Annika September 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    It sounds delicious, I will try this!

  5. Deb September 8, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    Tried this on the zucchini ‘fish’ cakes. They pair up quite nicely.

  6. Admin September 8, 2011 at 1:39 am #

    Deb – Genius!

  7. MaryMary September 9, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    Som Tum is one of my favorite foods…I eat it nonstop when I’m in Thailand. I love this fresh twist on the recipe!

  8. Admin September 9, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    Mary – Thanks. But to clarify, this recipe isn’t meant to mimic som tam. It’s more of a salsa-like topping than an entree salad.

  9. kita September 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Perfect for on top of a nice fish.

  10. Arwen from Hoglet K September 11, 2011 at 3:34 am #

    Sounds refreshing, and I love to hear that you just whipped it up to go with a nice piece of fish.

  11. Lauren October 21, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    I’m allergic to mango so this recipe is perfection for me! Though I toss in peanuts instead of the optional cashews, since I’m allergic to those too.

  12. Lauren October 23, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    This was great. I skipped the ice water bath, instead making the dressing first and just tossing the apple in that directly. It was a great side salad for some seared tuna.

  13. aa April 1, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Here is my recipe of a similar salad which I first ate at a restaurant called “Red Pepper” in Bangkok:

    Granny Smith or similar tart green apple[s].
    Cut the apples as the original recipe above.

    Squeeze out juice of half a lime/lemon.
    Mince/fine dice a couple cloves garlic.
    Cut up a bit of red or green chili [de-seeded if you prefer].
    A splash of fish sauce.
    A half teaspoon of brown sugar [or white!].
    A bit of crushed black pepper.
    Mix all these together.

    Lightly roast a handful shelled and skinless peanuts [or cashews] in a pan.

    Mix the toasted nuts into the apples, add the spicy mixture, garnish with coriander and mint leaves.


  14. chee hf January 10, 2013 at 5:39 am #

    I am going to make this for a friend afternoon BBQ this saturday, can i make it on friday night?

    • Leela January 10, 2013 at 5:48 am #

      Not a good idea as apples oxidize and soften very quickly. Refrigeration doesn’t even help. This is best done right before you serve it.

  15. Vanessa Larson July 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    I love the idea of green apples! They are so much easier to find in Paris than green papayas. I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for sharing!!