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This classic chili paste is super versatile. We use it in the famous tom yum goong soup, we add it to stir-fries like this classic cashew chicken, and we even use it in a salad dressing like in this wing bean salad! We also use it simply as a spread on toast, sometimes as part of a sandwich, but really, use it in whatever way you can think of!
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Thai Chili Paste/Chili Jam - Nam Prik Pao
- Yield: ⅔ cup
- 8-10 large dried chilies (I use spur chilies, but you can use any type of mild dried chilies)
- 2 Tbsp dried shrimp
- 10 cloves garlic, whole, peeled
- 4 heads shallots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2-3 Tbsp tamarind juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 3 Tbsp palm sugar, finely chopped, packed
- ¼ tsp shrimp paste, optional
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (see note)
If dried chilies feel dusty, dunk them for just a few seconds in cold water and dry them off on paper towel. Cut them into large chunks with scissors and remove the seeds and pith to reduce spiciness. If you want a spicier chili paste, you can leave some of the seeds in.
Toast the dried chilies in a dry saute pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they are charred in some spots and smell smoky. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same pan, add garlic and shallots and toast, stirring constantly, until they are charred. Remove from pan.
In a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind dried chilies into a powder. Add dried shrimp and grind until fine.
In a food processor or a blender, add all ingredients except the oil and grind into a fine paste. If it needs more liquid to grind properly, add some or all of the oil. If using a food processor, scrape the sides down occasionally.
Transfer the chili paste into a pot or a wok along with any remaining vegetable oil. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 10-12 minutes to cook the herbs and to thicken the paste to a desired consistency. If you are making a large batch, it will take more time to cook.
Store in a glass jar, and it'll keep in the fridge for a few months or in the freezer indefinitely. Use as a spread on crackers, toast, burgers and sandwiches, or use in any of these recipes: Cashew Chicken, Tom Yum Goong, Shrimp & Chili Paste Stir-Fry, Roast Pork Salad, Thai Tuna Salad, Wing Bean Salad
In commercial versions of this paste, more oil is typically used to the point where there is always a thick layer of oil that it on top of the paste. I don't like to add that much, but if you want to replicate the "traditional" style feel free to add more oil.
How much do the chillies amount to in terms of volume once ground up? I don't have whole chillies, but I want to try the recipe using gochugaru.
Thank you for your answer. I cannot wait to try your tom yum goong recipe.
As I said, I could not wait to try. In the video it looks like a quarter cup, maybe more. I went ahead with a quarter cup or 20 grams of gochugaru and it turned out nice.
You beat me to it, but 20g is exactly what you needed so good estimation!
Could not find a local source of Spur chillies so I used Dried Anaheim aka California chillies and regular Red Onion came out great
I am allergic to shrimps.. what can replace this in the recipe?
You can replace it with some bonito flakes, crush it up so it measures easily in a tablespoon, and omit the shrimp paste or use miso paste instead.
This is legit the OG jam recipe esp. for spice lovers. Goes soo well with toasted sourdough! Tried many recipes but keep coming back to this one.
Adam The HTK Intern
What premade brand of chili sauce do you recommend for those who don’t have time to make this? Thanks for all your recipes!!
Yeah, that's what I'd like to know, too. I have the option of pantai or maepranom, and their ingredients read quite different.
Hi, really love all of your recipes.
But I just wondering, can I use fresh chillies in this recipe, instead of dry chillies? Cause fresh chillies are easier to find in my home. Thank you and happy cooking.
Adam The HTK Minion
She says not for this one. Cheers!
Made this to go with tomyam Goong. Oh it made all the difference. Yummmmmmssss
Hi, I'm vegetarian. Would leaving the shrimps out work? Or would that change flavor profile? Are they any substitute for it?
It will still work if you leave it out, but it will lack umami, so try taking some dried shiitake mushrooms and finely grate for blitz it in a food processor into small pieces and add it in. I haven't done it myself but I think it should work!
Do you think mushroom broth powder would work as well, or dark miso? Thanks very much!
I think both of those options are worth a try! Though because they are salty, you'd need to reduce the amount of salt (fish sauce in this case) in the recipe.
Easy to make and very tasty paste/jam that adds a beautiful favour to just about anything you choose to add it to.