Nam Prik Pao – Thai Chili Condiment
For those of you that love Thai food, there is a condiment, or sauce if you will, known as Nam Prik Pao. Nam prik in Thai commonly refers to a general term for a spicy sauce that is often used as a condiment, or dipping sauce. You can find this sauce at your local Asian market, and there are probably so many different versions, but this is my go to recipe. This Thai dipping sauce is sweet, has some heat, and has this awesome layer of funk that has you using it on so many different foods, whether with eggs, grilled meats, or sauteed vegetables. This is a real winner whether you enjoy Thai or Asian flavors. I simply cannot get enough of it.
Now I have made some really great sauces in the past, for example nam prik ong, Thai three sauce (to die for), and a couple of my favorites being jeow and nam jim jaew, but this particular one is a bit different, and one to compete with.
Let’s get started.
- 1/4 cup of canola oil
- 1 cup of dried puya chilies, stems and seeds removed
- 1/2 cup dried morita chiles, stems and seeds removed
- 1/2 cup dried chile del arbol, stems and seeds removed
- 1/2 cup tamarind concentrate
- 3 tbsp palm sugar (or light brown if you do not have palm sugar)
- 1 whole head of garlic, skins removed
- 4 whole shallots, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp roasted shrimp paste
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
Start by taking the seeds out of all of the chilies. I highly recommend you wear kitchen latex gloves during this process. Trust me, and thank me later. Once the seeds and stems have been removed, add them to a large skillet over medium heat, simply to lightly toast them and bring out their essential oils. Be careful not to burn the chilies, so keep stirring them for a few minutes, then place onto a plate for later use.
To the same skillet, add the oil, and toss in the garlic cloves. Cook the garlic, again not to burn it but just until they turn a golden brown. Remove the garlic with a kitchen spider, or slotted spoon, and place them on the same plate as the chilies.
To the same oil, add in the shallots, and cook until they begin to get golden as well. Once golden, remove with a slotted spoon and place these, along with the garlic and chilies to a food processor. Turn off the heat, but keep the oil in the skillet for future use.
Pulse these in the food processor until you have a nice paste. Scrape down the sides if necessary during this process.
Once you have a paste, add the skillet back on medium heat with the oil, and add the chili paste, shrimp paste, tamarind, fish sauce, and palm sugar. Gently stir, turning down the heat to low, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring throughout that time. Remove from the heat, and spoon into a sealable jar or container and let it cool before placing in the refrigerator.
This nam prik pao is super yummy. Granted when no one is looking I take a small spoonful and eat it, but you can use this condiment to spread on toast, dip pork rinds into, use with soups or stews, or just serve with anything. It’s an awesome condiment, and one that will not only having you get your arsenal of Thai ingredients in line, but one you will love. Hope you enjoy!