Green chilli dip

Green chilli dip

Nam phrik num (North)

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From
South East Asian Food

I first encountered this dish in Nan near the Laos border. I did not see it cooked until later in Chiangmai, where my friend Tuanjit Kannang walked me through this recipe, but I was surprised, in such a remote country town as Nan, to be taken to a very informal fresh food co-op where I could have bought all the necessary ingredients assembled in a plastic bag ready to cook. Who said the fast food revolution in Thailand was confined to Bangkok?

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2-3 small pieces pla ra, finely chopped, in 2–3 tablespoons pla ra liquor or 2–3 tablespoons budo sauce, (optional)
12 unpeeled shallots
8-10 medium-sized garlic cloves, unpeeled
8 large green chillies or banana chillies
6 small egg tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 spring onions, chopped, for garnish
a handful coriander, chopped, for garnish

Vegetables

Quantity Ingredient
3 wedges pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks
1 bunch snakebeans or young stringless beans, cut into 10 cm lengths
8-10 young winged beans, topped and tailed, (optional)
5 young cigar-shaped eggplant, sliced down the middle for 3⁄4 of their length but not peeled
3 wedges cabbage
2 cups tamlung leaves or young spinach leaves

Method

  1. Wrap the pla ra, if you are using it, in a double foil packet and roast for a few minutes in a dry pan or cook for 1 minute in plastic wrap in a microwave. Roast or grill the shallots, garlic and chillies until brown and peel the skins off. Without removing the seeds, chop the chillies. Put them in a large earthenware mortar and pound to a smooth paste. Add the pla ra if you are using it and pound together to a smooth paste. Add the shallots and the garlic and pound again. Add the tomatoes and pound very lightly to mix everything but without mashing the tomatoes completely – lumps should still be discernible. Finally mix in the fish sauce to make a nam phrik that is quite salty. Mix in half of the chopped spring onions and coriander. Transfer into a bowl, garnish with the remaining spring onions and coriander and serve with the vegetables, on a separate plate.
  2. To prepare the vegetables, put the hard vegetables in separate piles in a large steamer and steam until almost soft. Add the tamlung leaves and finish steaming until everything is cooked.
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