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Nam Phrik Pao

August 01, 2010 at 05:20 PM | categories: food, recipes | View Comments

This Thai roasted chile-tamarind curry paste is used in dishes such as tom yum and cashew chicken. Mixed with equal parts lime juice or lemon juice, it makes an excellent salad dressing. However, this recipe involves lots of hot oil. Be very careful when making this curry paste. This is your final warning.
  • 1/2-cu dried shrimp
  • 2-cu vegetable oil
  • 1/2-cu garlic, sliced (1-2 heads)
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 12 chiles japones, or tien-tsin, or thai long chiles
  • 3-T tamarind concentrate
  • 3-T palm sugar
  • 3-T Thai fish sauce
Rehydrate the shrimp in a small bowl, then drain and set aside. Prepare the garlic and green onions, then heat the oil in a wok. Dip a wooden spoon to test the oil: when you see tiny bubbles coming from the wooden spoon, the oil is ready.

First, fry the garlic for 30-90 seconds. Wait for it to turn golden, but do not let it burn. You can skim the garlic out of the oil, or strain the oil into a glass container for the next step. Either way, set the garlic aside in a bowl.

Next, fry the green onions until they begin to caramelize, 2-3 minutes. Skim or strain them out and add to the bowl containing the garlic. Fry the chiles for about 30 seconds, and add them to the bowl. Then fry the shrimp for about 1 minute and add them to the bowl.

Using a food processor, combine the fried ingredients, the tamarind and 3-5 T of the frying oil and blend into a smooth paste. Move this paste to a saucepan, add the sugar and fish sauce, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove and cool.

Store the paste in a clean glass jar with a good lid. Refrigerated, it will keep for some time. This version of the recipe makes about 6-oz of curry paste.
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