Authentic Thai Recipe for Vegetarian Roasted Chili Sauce
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Vegetarian Roasted Chili Sauce
นำ้พริกเผาเจ ( Nam Prik Pao Jeh )
Added on June 26, 2014
Rated 4.5 Stars from 1998 reader reviews
Yield: 1/2 Cup
Prep time: 20 Minutes
Cooking time: 5 Minutes
Ready in: 45 Minutes
This vegetarian Thai roasted chili sauce makes an excellent spicy dip for Crudités. The combination of sweet, spicy, and smokey flavors of Nam Prik Pao are a real treat when blended with a cold, crisp cucumber wedge.
The traditional recipe for nam prik pao includes fish sauce and shrimp paste, but this recipe manages to give you all the authentic favor you would expect from roasted chili sauce without those ingredients. Khun Worawut also uses this recipe as a component to flavor his vegetarian Tom Yum, which is excellent. Try it, you'll love it!
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How to Make Nam Prik Pao Jeh
Detailed Step-by-step Method:Print these instructions >
Make Tamarind Paste:
I like to make my own tamarind paste. It's easy to do and I can control what goes into the paste more than I can when it's a bottled product. Tamarind paste is just tamarind and water. That's why it's usually called น้ำมะขาม in Thai language, which is "Tamarind water", or "Tamarind juice".
You just need some dry tamarind fruit. If you don't have it or prefer to buy it pre-made, skip these steps.
Place a nice ball of the dried tamarind in a bowl, and pour in enough water to cover the fruit. Let it sit for about 5 - 10 minutes.
After the fruit has softened in the water, use your fingers to spread it out and mash it, removing seeds and fibers as they come free of the fruit pulp.
Put the fruit pulp into a stainer and push it through onto a plate or bowl.
What you should get is a nice thick paste. If you taste it, you'll understand why it is such an important ingredient in Thai cuisine. Tamarind is how we make many of our dishes taste sour. We do often use lime juice, but tamarind also has a subtle sweetness and fruity flavor so I prefer using it.
Note: Your paste may be thinner or thicker than mine depending on how much water you used. If yours is thin, just use a little more when you measure it for the recipe.
Roasting the Herbs:
If you have an outdoor barbeque grill, then use it to roast the ingredients, as the chilies will smoke quite a lot and the pepper gas they emit is very potent. I do it inside as my stove vent fan is good and draws most of the smoke out. Heat a big frying pan, wok, or your grill until it is very hot. Do not use oil, just keep the pan dry. Lay the chilies, shallots, and garlic (unpeeled) out so they are all touching the heat.
The chilies will puff up, crackle, and start to burn. You want them to be at least 50% black charcoal. Remove them when they are, then continue turning the shallots and garlic until they too are getting a little black in some places and softening up a lot.
Remove the shallots and garlic cloves when they are ready, let them cool completely, then peel the shells and skins away, but leave the burned spots on.
Measure the sauces and other ingredients, and assemble them for easy access before you continue.
tear the dry roasted chilies into small pieces, then grind them together with the salt using a mortar and pestle until they form a rough powder. Some big chunks are fine.
Add the garlic, shallots, and peanuts to the chilies, and grind them until you can no longer see large pieces of any of them. You should have a nice thick paste forming.
Add the yellow soybean paste, tamarind paste, light soy sauce, and dark sweet soy sauce to the paste and mix it in well.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan or wok. I use coconut oil because I like the extra flavor and health benefits, but you can use any type of vegetable oil. Scoop the wet paste into the oiled pan. Push and mash the paste into the oil as much as possible. Let it fry for about a minute and get hot, but not burning.
Add about 1/4 of water to the pan, stir it into the paste and it will thin out and become a more consistent smooth texture. When it starts to bubble again, add the coconut sugar and stir it in well until it melts away completely.
Keep cooking until most of the water is cooked away. The paste should be quite oily, with maybe as much as 1/3 of the total being oil floating out and around the chili mixture. If it looks dry, add more oil until it looks nice and you have a nice orange colored oily paste.
Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool, then transfer to a serving bowl or storage container. A small recycled jelly jar works well for storing. You can keep the paste in a refrigerator for up to a couple months, but it so delicious that it will never last that long. Always serve in a small bowl at room temperature so the oils are nicely separated.
Nam Prik Pao is a flavoring ingredient in many Thai dishes, so having it on hand is not a problem when you like Thai food. My American friends use it in many different kinds of foods that are not Thai because of the wonderful flavors, so I always make a large batch up whenever I'm doing it anyway. This vegetarian version really is just as good as the traditional recipes that usually include fish sauce, shrimp paste, and other animal ingredients.