PATRICK’S NAM PRIK PAO (Thai roasted chili paste, ½ cup)

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¼ cup coconut oil, plus a little more to finish (or the light vegetable oil of your choice)

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped

dried whole or crushed red chilies, ground to make 3 tablespoons powder (you can grind them in a spice mill or food processor, or use ground cayenne)

½ to 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (or 1 extra tablespoon fish sauce)

2 tablespoons fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)

2 to 3 tablespoons palm or brown sugar, more to taste

½ to 1 teaspoon tamarind paste (available to Asian food stores)

1-1/2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons water

  1. Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped garlic and shallots and fry them 2 to 3 minutes,  until they turn a very light golden brown and slightly crispy (Do not over-brown the garlic, or it will turn bitter).  Remove garlic and shallots with a slotted spoon to a bowl to cool.  Leave remaining oil in pan.
  1. Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, combine the prepared chili with the shrimp paste, fish sauce sugar, tamarind paste, lime and water. Add the fried garlic and shallots and pound or process to form a thick paste.
  1. Return this paste to the frying pan and stir it into the oil over low heat, gently simmering until you get a fairly even consistency. Adjust the consistency by adding a little more water if you find it too thick or more oil if you prefer a “shinier” sauce.
  1. Taste for seasoning, adding more fish sauce if you’d like it saltier, or more sugar if you’d like it sweeter (I usually add another ½ tablespoon fish sauce and another tablespoon brown sugar to mine).

NOTE:  Nam prik pao will keep for several months stored in a covered jar in your refrigerator.  Use it as an addition to Thai soups, stir-fries or curries.  It’s also wonderful combined with noodles or seafood.



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