As mentioned in the recipe for Chiang Mai Pizza, Nam Phrik Num is traditionally served and eaten with Chiang Mai sausage. It is hot, pungent, and smoky and a perfect accompaniment for grilled meats, poultry, or fish. I find myself adding it to fresh salsas and cooked sauces as well. Once you have tried it, you too will find yourself adding it to this or that to fire up a dish that needs that extra kick of flavor and heat. Wonderful with baked potatoes along with a dollop of Greek style yogurt, in a corn souffle, in tacos…healthy too!
Preheat grill if using
makes about 1 ½ cups
- 6 to 8 hot green chilies
- 4 green round eggplants or 3 long green eggplants
- 5 garlic cloves, skin on
- 3 large red shallots or 6 small, outer skin removed
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil
- 4 coriander roots, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon nam pla (fish sauce)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
- ½ teaspoon of salt, or to taste
Place the chilies, eggplants, garlic, shallots, and oil in a bowl and toss to glaze the vegetables. Place the vegetables on a large sheet of foil large enough to hold all the vegetables tightly together in a single layer with some extra foil on all sides. Using another sheet of foil the same size place over the vegetables and roll the edges of both the bottom and top foil together all the way around into a very tight sealed packet.
If you plan to grill the vegetables on a BBQ carefully place the foil packet onto the hot grill and grill 8-10 minutes. Flip the packet over and grill another 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are soft. To test, push down on an eggplant. It should be soft but not mushy. Cooking time will vary depending on the heat from the grill. Set aside to cool until cool enough to handle before opening the packet.
If you plan to roast the vegetables over a flame on the stove top, place the foil packet on a rack set 4 inches above the flame and roast 8-10 minutes. Flip the packet over and roast another 8-10 minutes. You can also use a grill pan if you don’t have a gas stove. Again, cooking time will vary. A push on the eggplant will tell you when the vegetables are well roasted. Set aside until cool enough to handle before opening the packet.
Once you have opened the packet, remove the stems from the chilies and peel off the skin, scraping any flesh off the skin with a knife blade. Chop the chilies and set aside to add later, seeds included. Cut off the stems of the eggplant and peel off the skin and chop. Remove the skins of the garlic and shallots and place all the ingredients, except the reserved chilies, in a large mortar or bowl. Pound or mash the ingredients into a thick course paste. Add the chilies and mix into the mixture. Taste and add salt if needed.
Refrigerate for several hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld together. Will keep for up to 3 or 4 days, refrigerated.
Serve at room temperature for optimum flavor.