If you're anything like me, when you first taste nam phrig noom, the smoky, garlicky, roasted chili dip from Northern Thailand, it's gonna blow your mind. Made with roasted green chilies, shallots, and garlic, it's served as a side dish alongside all sorts of raw and cooked vegetables, boiled eggs, or—my favorite—crispy pork rinds.
Why this recipe works:
- Though traditionally made over a live fire, a hot cast iron pan or a broiler can bring the same level of charred flavor.
- We add a touch of fish sauce and lime juice to our mixture to bring out the richer, roasted flavors.
Note: If very small shallots are unavailable, cut larger shallots into wedges about an inch in diameter. For best results, I recommend using Thai shrimp paste in this recipe instead of the fish sauce, though fish sauce will do in a pinch. This recipe comes out far better when pounded by hand, which requires a large mortar and pestle. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can pulse the mixture in batches in a food processor, but the end results will not have quite the same flavor or texture.
- 4 large hot green chilies, such as Anaheim or Chinese long green capsicum
- 4 whole very small shallots (about 1 inch in diameter), unpeeled (see note)
- 5 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 2 tablespoons Thai shrimp paste or fish sauce
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro, including the stems
- Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lime
- Boiled eggs, sliced cucumbers, fried pork rinds, steamed green or long beans, and/or steamed pumpkin to serve
Preheat a broiler to high heat and adjust rack to 3 inches below heating element. The goal is to get it as close as possible while still allowing a cast iron skillet to be placed underneath. Preheat cast iron skillet on a burner over high heat until lightly smoking, about 5 minutes.
Place chilies, shallots, and garlic in skillet and place under the broiler. Broil, turning vegetables every few minutes, until darkly charred on all surfaces, about 10 minutes total. Some vegetables may cook faster than others; remove each vegetable as it cooks and transfer to a medium bowl. When all vegetables are cooked, cover bowl tightly with foil and allow to steam for 10 minutes.
If using shrimp paste, smear shrimp paste on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place under the broiler and broil until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Remove from oven and set aside. (If using fish sauce, skip to next step.)
Carefully peel chilies, garlic, and shallots and discard skins. Transfer to a large mortar and pestle. Add cilantro leaves and stems and shrimp paste (if using fish sauce, do not add until next step). Add a heavy pinch of salt. Pound until a rough, spoonable paste is formed, about 5 minutes.
Stir in lime juice and fish sauce (if using). Season to taste with more salt if desired. Serve with steamed or raw vegetables, boiled eggs, and fried pork rinds. Leftover nam phrig noom can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.