Add this extraordinary paste to just about anything for an added wow factor (it’s great on toast). I would like to spread it on my life.
This is also the sort of foodstuff that, once jarred up and labelled, makes a thoughtful gift. If you use a mason jar, however, be sure to photograph it with your feet somehow in the picture (ideally the person behind the camera will have a waxed moustache). Then use the most unappealing filter you can find before uploading the photo to Instagram. If you are sitting down, be sure to use the #whatveganseat hashtag.
Contemporary Vegan Nam Prik Pao
Chilli jam, or nam prik pao, is a great introduction to Thai relishes and is a versatile ingredient that can be used in any number of ways (in stir fries, fried rice, and tom yam to name a few). The Thai roasted chilli paste that can be purchased commercially is nam prik pao, although few versions are vegan friendly as prawns are a sometimes an ingredient.
- ⅓ cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons tamarind pulp
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 100 grams (1 cup) thinly sliced shallots
- 50 grams garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced (⅓ cup sliced garlic)
- 4 thin slices galangal
- 5 dried long red chillies, deseeded
- 65 grams (packed ¼ cup) soft light palm sugar
- 7 grams (1 teaspoon) fine sea salt
- Mash the tamarind and warm water together in a small bowl. Use a mesh strainer to strain the liquid into another container by pressing the pulp firmly against the mesh with the back of a wooden or silicone spoon.
- Bring the oil in a wok to medium heat. Tip the shallots into the oil and fry, stirring often, until they are a crisp toasting brown (but not burnt). Remove to kitchen roll to drain. Next add the garlic to the oil and cook in the same way until the slivers are lightly brown. Drain on kitchen roll.
- The galangal will take less time to cook than the shallots and garlic. Fry the slices until they are shriveled and brown around the edges, just a minute or so.
- Finally, fry the dried chillies until they turn a deeper red (30 seconds to 1 minute). As with all other ingredients, do not burn.
- Pound the ingredients with a pestle and mortar, adding one fried ingredient at a time until pulverized and combined.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the frying oil in a smaller pan. Add the pounded ingredients, palm sugar, tamarind water and salt. Cook for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat. The paste will thicken slightly in the pool of oil. Allow to cool before use. If you want a smoother, less stodgy paste, you can blend it with some water (but keep in mind it will dilute flavours).
- Author: Kip Dorrell
- Serves 2
- Cuisine: Thai