Nam Prik Num; Flame roasted Thai Green Chilies

Nam Prik Num; Flame roasted Thai Green Chilies

Nam Prik Num is a favorite northern Thai flame roasted green chile sauce that locals eat with Chiang Mai sausage, with a plate of raw vegetables, or especially with crispy fried pork skin. Yikes! That said, crispy pork skin dipped into this fiery green chile sauce is an indulgence that should not be denied! It’s a match made in heaven.

This is HOT stuff! The flavors of fiery roasted green chilies, roasted garlic and shallots, a dash of fermented Thai shrimp paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, and fresh lime juice all pounded together in a stone mortar turns out a rustic hot green sauce that is instantly addictive. Even eating it with plain steamed rice is transportive. I’m planning to serve it with bites and drinks before a Thai supper for my visiting family from America next week and will post the menu soon after.


Nam Prik Num (Noom) makes 1 ½ cups

You may want to use disposable gloves when working with the chilies to avoid burning fingers!

There are many options for the chilies you can use for this recipe including Thai green chilies, jalapenos, New Mexico or Anaheim greens. Use whatever is available.

  • 12 fresh Thai green chilies or 6 large green chilies (New Mexico green/Anaheim, or jalapenos)
    3-4 small fresh Thai green bird’s eye chilies (optional for extra heat)
    6 plump shallots, skin on
    10 plump garlic cloves, skin on
    2 teaspoons oil
    1 teaspoon Thai fermented shrimp paste
    1 teaspoon palm sugar (or white sugar)
    2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

Flame roast the green chilies (including the bird’s eye chilies if using), shallots, and garlic until the skin is blistered all over (see here). Set aside until cool enough to handle. Then peel the charred skin off the large chilies and discard the skin. To reduce the heat, split the chilies lengthwise and remove some of the seeds. Then quarter the chilies lengthwise (finely chopping the unpeeled bird’s eye chilies if using) and set aside.

Peel the charred skin off the shallots and garlic. Chop and set aside.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and when hot add the shrimp paste and palm sugar in the center of the pan and stir until melted together. Promptly add the chopped shallots and garlic and stir until combined. Transfer to a stone mortar and grind the ingredients until they are broken down. Then add the chopped chilies and continue to grind until the chilies are looking stringy. This may take a couple minutes.

Add the fish sauce and lime juice. Continue to grind until the liquid is incorporated. Taste and add more fish sauce if needed.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The nam prik num will last about a week refrigerated, or freeze for longer storage.

Best served at room temperature!

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