This underrated Thai ingredient deserves more
A love letter to nam prik pao
I just released a video for an easy recipe: 3-Chili Thai Basil Fried Rice. But the reason I made that recipe in the first place was because I wanted to show people another way to use this powerhouse of an ingredient: Thai chili paste, aka Thai chili jam, or nam prik pao.
3-Chili Thai Basil Fried Rice
I think it’s underrated. It’s a rich, sweet-savoury paste loaded with umami. A lot of people buy it to make tom yum soup, but then it sits in their fridge for yearssss (it never seems to go bad!). But it can be used in so many things, including on your toast! My mom used to make us tuna sandwiches, with nam prik pao on the bread. Yum. I also spread it onto my avocado toast.
Here are some ways to use Thai chili paste:
In a Thai salad, like in this wing bean salad (you can sub the wing beans with green beans).
In a stir fry, like in this eggplant stir fry.
In a soup, like in tom yum mentioned above, or even try adding it to tom kha gai, which isn’t traditional, but it’s pretty tasty.
In a fried rice, as per my video above.
A few notes on brands:
In the video I used Pantai brand, which is the most widely available brand outside of Thailand. However, it’s not the most popular one in Thailand.
Mae Pranom, with a blue lid, is the most popular brand and is less sweet. So when using Thai chili paste you always want to taste and adjust the seasoning because of differences between brands.
Thai Kitchen also makes one that is very good and is similar to Mae Pranom.
You can also make one yourself without too much effort. And it lasts a long time in the fridge!