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Nam Phrik Ong

Saturday, 23 May 2009


This recipe and others can be found in the following article:

Making Thailand's "Chile Water"

Story and Photos by Austin Bush




At a glance
Cooking Method
Heat Level
New Mexico Red
Main Course
For the chile paste:
7 large dried red chiles, soaked in warm water until soft
3 peeled shallots
1 head of garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh lemongrass (using only lower white part)
2 tablespoons shrimp paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup ground pork
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro


Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, blend the chiles, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, shrimp paste and salt together finely.

With the mortar and pestle, mash the tomatoes into the curry paste.

Heat the oil in a wok over low heat. Add the 2 cloves chopped garlic and fry until crispy. Add the curry paste and tomato mixture and fry, constantly stirring, until the mixture begins to become fragrant, and oil begins to rise and accumulate, about 5 to 10 minutes. 

Add the pork and continue to stir until the pork is fully cooked and the oil again begins to rise. If the mixture seems dry at any point, add water, 1/4 cup at a time. Nam phrik ong should have the consistency and appearance of a thick, oily spaghetti sauce.

Serve in a bowl, sprinkled with cilantro, alongside fresh vegetables, pork rinds, and sticky rice.

Additional Tips

Nam phrik ong is a dish that originates from the Tai Yai or Shan, a Thai ethnic group that lives in northern Thailand and Myanmar. Ong means "to fry" in the Tai Yai dialect, and this dish makes use of pork and tomatoes, both staples of Tai Yai cooking. Nam phrik ong is now eaten among all northern Thais, regardless of ethnicity.


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