Spice up your life with this tasty red chili paste, or in Thai language nam prik pao. This paste a common ingredient in the Thai cuisine. It’s mainly used for currying vegetables and meat together with coconut milk. The paste is full of flavors: sweet, salty, savory and sour. The main ingredients are red chillies, onions, garlic, oil and vinegar. Shrimp paste is often used as an ingredient and adds savoriness. In the context of sustainability I prefer a vegetarian version. Therefore I use dried shiitake mushrooms for an extra ‘umami injection’. If you like fish use 2 tablespoons of shrimp paste.
If you don’t like spicy food, reduce the amount of chillies. Or maybe this paste is not your cup of ‘chai’. You can store the paste in a sterile jar for no longer than two weeks.
I love to use this paste in curly kale curry or stir fried tempeh with vegetables.
Thai Red Chili Paste / Nam Prik Pao Recipe
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Waiting time: 20 minutes
A mortar or mini food processor
10 dried hot red chillies, halved and seeds discarded
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
4 shallots (or one big onion), peeled
5 garlic cloves
1 inch / 2,5 cm ginger
5-10 black peppercorns
2 lemongrass stalks
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 tbsp cilantro stems
5 fresh red chillies
2 tbsp tamarinde paste
2 tbsp maple syrup
a pinch of sea salt
Cut the drie the hot red chilies and soak in water for about 20 minutes to soften. Drain well. Soak also the shiitake mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes.
In the meantime toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry skillet on a medium high flame. Toast for about 2 minutes, until the seeds are fragrant.
Remove the outer leaves of the lemongrass stalks. Chop the lower stalks finely (just the white part).
Grind the coriander seeds and the black peppercorns in a mortar or mini food processor.
Remove the seeds and membranes of the fresh red chilies.
Then add the lemongrass, shiitake mushrooms lime leaves, cilantro stems, shiitake mushrooms, shallot, garlic, fresh chili’s, soaked dry chilis and salt and grind.
Store in a sterile jar for up to 2 weeks.