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Prik Phao is legendary in Thailand and has been a staple in Thai households for generations. This is a cooked chile paste that is eaten in Thailand in a wide variety of ways. For example, mix one tablespoon with a small bowl of steamed jasmine rice and serve. Use this as a spicy vegetable dip. Add it to soups and noodles, and even use it as a spicy sandwich spread.
4 tablespoon oil
3 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoon chopped shallots
3 tablespoon coarsely chopped dried red chiles
1 tablespoon fermented shrimp paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar
Heat the oil, and add the garlic and shallots. Fry briefly, then remove from the oil and set aside. Add the chilies and fry until they start to change colour, then remove them and set them aside.
In a mortar and pestle pound the shrimp paste, add the chiles, garlic and shallots, blending each in before adding the next. Then over low heat return all the ingredients to the oil, and fold into a uniform paste.
The resulting thick, slightly oily red/black sauce will keep almost indefinitely. If you wish you can add more fish sauce and/or sugar to get the flavour you want.
Nam Prik Pao may also be purchased online: