Fermented Fish and Green Papaya Pickle

January 26, 2023  Cambodian Chef Avatar
Fermented Fish and Green Papaya Pickle

The Fermented Fish and Green Papaya Pickle recipe is tailored for the younger generation of Khmer individuals living in the US who may have a taste for “Mum” (pickle) but are unfamiliar with the process of making it. This unique pickle offers the option to use either shrimps, fish, or both in a single jar. The key to successful pickling lies in achieving the right balance of salt; too much can hinder the sourness, while too little can lead to spoilage.

The ingredients include a mixture of shredded and sliced green papaya and carrot, raw shrimps (peeled and tail removed), and sliced fish (such as Tilapia, Salmon, or mud fish) in bite-sized pieces. Additionally, shredded galangal, roasted rice, thinly sliced green pineapple, salt, and water are combined to create the pickle mixture. It’s important to thoroughly mix all the components in a large bowl before transferring them into a clean, sizeable jar with a secure lid.

The fermentation process, or “Mam,” typically takes around 2 to 3 weeks, with the duration varying based on the climate of the location. Warmer climates may expedite the fermentation process. During this time, the jar is left outside, and the distinct mam juice will gradually rise within it. Once the pickle has fermented to the desired level, it is stored in the refrigerator for future use.

When ready to serve, the pickle can be garnished with lime juice, mint, basil, and chili. It pairs wonderfully with rice and offers the flexibility of being enjoyed raw or steamed, depending on personal preference. This Fermented Fish and Green Papaya Pickle recipe provides a unique opportunity for the Khmer diaspora in the US to savor a traditional delicacy and continue the cultural culinary tradition in their new environment.


4 cups of mix shredded and sliced green papaya and carrot
2 cups of raw shrimps (peel and tail off)
2 cups of Tilapia or Salmon or mud fish, slice to bite size
2 to 3 tablespoon of salt
1/2 cup of shredded galangal
1/2 cup of roasted rice
1 cup of green pineapple thinly sliced
1/3 cup of water

Directions to make Fermented Fish and Green Papaya Pickle

  1. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients together mix well.
  2. Spoon the mixture into a big clean jar with lid on. Mam process takes about 2 to 3 weeks before it is sour depending on which state you live where the weather is warmer. I leave Mam outside until it is fermented (you can see mam juice come up inside the jar) then I keep it in the refrigerator for later use.
  3. When it is ready you can garnish it with lime juice, mint, basil, chili, and serve with rice

Serve raw or steam up to you.


Related Recipe: Chinese Green Soup with Meatballs

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 2

Calories Per Serving: 790

% Daily Value
Total Carbohydrate ‏103g 37%
Cholesterol ‏234mg 78%
Total Fat ‏27g 35%
Saturated Fat ‏21g 105%
Dietary Fiber ‏13g 46%
Protein ‏51g 102%
Sodium ‏7295mg 317%
Sugars ‏59g 118%


15 min


14 min




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