known as Namprik Pow or Nam Prik Pow

This is an essential condiment in Thai cooking – like Dijon mustard in European cooking or coconut-cumin-green chilli paste in the Kerala kitchen. Nam Prik Pow is what gives Tom Yum Soup (Tom Yum Goong) and a host of other recipes their distinctive flavour.

Every store-bought variety we found had fish sauce or shrimp paste. Then we found an easy recipe for a vegetarian version. This is adapted from Thai Vegetarian Cooking by Vatcharin Bhumichitr.

The original recipe has a lot of salt, which acts as a preservative. We halved the amount of salt, as it gives us better control of how much salt goes in the final dish.

Vegetarian Chilli paste in Soybean Oil (Nam Prik Pow / Namprik Pow)

Makes 1/2 cup

1/2 cup vegetable oil
**soybean oil is traditionally used
1/3 cup chopped garlic
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup sugar
** traditionally gula melaka (palm sugar) is used. we used jaggery.
1 tsp salt
6 big red chillies, broken into bits
**you can use any combo of dried red chillies. we used 3 large New Mexico chillies and 3 dried jalapenos (Indian chillies). If exclusively using Indian dry chillies which are much smaller, double the volume. The end result will be much hotter.

Pictorial glossary of ingredients HERE.

Heat the oil, fry the garlic until light golden, take it out with a slotted spoon.

Then fry the chopped shallots until they begin to brown and crispen. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Add the red chillies and fry until they darken a shade.

Grind them along with the garlic and shallots to a paste in a mortar and pestle. Add the oil, sugar and salt, mix and store.

Or grind them all up in the food processor to a smooth paste.

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37 Comments

  1. [...] jai bee wrote an interesting post today on Thai Chilli paste in soybean oil (Vegetarian)Here’s a quick excerptknown as Namprik Pow or Nam Prik Pow This is an essential condiment in Thai cooking – like Dijon mustard in European cooking or coconut-cumin-green chilli paste in the Kerala kitchen. Nam Prik Pow is what gives Tom Yum Soup (Tom Yum … [...]

  2. Anjali says:

    God bless you! I have never made Thai for the fear of the fish in the store bought pastes. Now I can try and I have fresh shallots in stock too. Is that what you used fresh shallots or did you mean red onions? Thanks.

    Hey BTW ….we see the chimps again and a tag for each other way to cool LOL.

    we used shallots, but red onion would work too. a kolin has a problem with fish paste? – b.

  3. sia says:

    beautiful pic…
    pick me bee for next bottle of namprik pow…plz plz plz… :)

  4. [...] jai bee wrote an interesting post today on Thai Chilli paste in soybean oil (Vegetarian)Here’s a quick excerptknown as Namprik Pow or Nam Prik Pow This is an essential condiment in Thai cooking – like Dijon mustard in European cooking or coconut-cumin-green chilli paste in the Kerala kitchen. Nam Prik Pow is what gives Tom Yum Soup (Tom Yum … [...]

  5. Meeta says:

    Now that is one hot pressie Bee. But then J is one hot dude. I love his blog too ;-)

  6. Asha says:

    Hi Bee,(I am sure it’s you this time!;D)
    Great hot gift for Z. I was looking at many Kung Pao recipes yesterday. Hope Jai makes that soup for ya!:)

  7. Rajitha says:

    thnks for sharing this..i am really fed-up cox i have to read ingredients of every paste i buy to make sure it is vegetarian..if i make it..i know i am safe for sure!!

  8. Rajeswari says:

    Great picture and entry!! :yes:

  9. Kalyn says:

    Very interesting. I wasn’t familiar with this at all, but it sounds great.

  10. kribha says:

    Love the pic of the red curry paste on the spoon with some oil underneath. :yes: Nice recipe. I have a recipe too, but it’s more elaborate and complicated. This looks really good. I’m saving it. Thanks.

  11. Kamini says:

    Sorry for what might seem like a dumb question: is it the same oil that was used to fry the garlic and other stuff that is used to grind them as well? A lot of oil has been used, so I’m guessing this has an Indian pickle-like consistency? Sorry for exposing my complete ignorance here, but this looks really yummy, and I’d like to get it right!
    Kamini.

    yeah, the flavoured oil. – b.

  12. Laavanya says:

    That curry looks so good.. Thanks for a great recipe. Waiting for some recipes where you use this… :)

  13. Anita says:

    I like his blog too… but he’s the quiet type I think – doesn’t comment much on your blog – do you think he likes? ;;)

    That curry paste is right up my ally and I’m going to throw in some fish sauce as well, for good measure!…after I take out some for the hubby, of course.

  14. Happy Cook says:

    Wow u made this home.
    Love the paste. I buy them from the thai shop, but have to admit to you that it is too salty.

  15. alpa says:

    I so want your mortar & pestle! I have this unending and a little unnatural desire to collect these, lol.

  16. Latha says:

    :-) Cute gift! Actually hot gift!

  17. Namratha says:

    Love the pestle and mortar, I had no idea making this paste would be such a breeze!

  18. tee says:

    ooh! what a nice gift! I loved the color of the paste :)

  19. shilpa says:

    By gifting that to J are you asking him to cook something with it so that you can sit and enjoy?? You are clever Bee :D .

    As usual looks very beautiful…

  20. musy says:

    He he, yup i love his blog too :-D and great that you featured the vegetarian version of the Namprik pow!

  21. richa says:

    lovely color! looks pretty simple to make, will try :D

  22. Zlamushka says:

    Jai and Bee, you guys have no idea how HAPPY you just made me with this one… :bow:
    I have been buying the store-crap :no: for ages now.. Always trying to figure out how to make my own. I love making Tom Yum Goong, as well as simple stir-fry, where Nam Prik Pow is a must… Gosh, what a Christmas I am having! :horn:

  23. Zlamushka says:

    oh, did I say thank you for participating, btw? I guess I was too overhelmed… :D

  24. shivapriya says:

    I have the same problem with store bought. I have all ingredients as you mentioned to Asha I can use red onion instead of shallots i’m going to make soup….. if jai is too busy to make soup for u lemme know I will send some for u:).

  25. Dhivya says:

    Oh wow! I so wanted this recipe and U made my life much better..Am gng to show my thanks :-) How?

    U have been tagged – visit here http://culinarybazaar.blogspot.com/2007/11/double-surprise-and-too-happy-to-food.html to know more :)

  26. Manisha says:

    [offtopic] :rofl: [/offtopic]

    Makes a lovely gift! I want that spoonful. In *my* soup. Which I will have to make for myself. See, D has no blog. And even if he did, he wouldn’t make soup for me. Did anyone tell you how lucky you are? [runs....]

  27. Mansi says:

    I have already made Tom Yum soup and can gift you that too!! so now can I get the chilli paste that is so beautifully gift-wrapped!!!??? :tongue:

  28. Shweta says:

    I can’t wait to make this and put it to very good use in a noodles recipe a colleague gave me!
    And both of you are cute, very cute!! :D

  29. Cynthia says:

    Bee, I’d like to try making this with the fish sauce, shrimp paste, palm sugar etc as I currently have all those ingredients. Can you please send me the recipe?

    I made a Thai sambal a few months ago, not from a recipe but from hints dropped by the writer. It turned out really well and it’s hot, hot, hot! But I think that it is not quite right. So, I’d like to try making the Nam Prik Pow / Namprik Pow.

    Thanks very much.

    I do hope that J makes you some of that soup.

  30. Siri says:

    U both look damn *cute* I must say ;;). I love ur blog for the fact that u give such lovely substitutes for everything thing… :dance:
    a usual :bow: to u bee!

    -Siri

  31. sagari says:

    thai food is my favvv food i tryed a lot to cook at home but no success thanks for sharing

  32. Meera says:

    I just lllooovvveeed that mortar and pestle. The recipe rocks too!

  33. Anjali says:

    Yes Bee I am vegetarian since 1988 or so.

  34. Nags says:

    What a lovely idea for a food gift :) Pic looks awesome!

  35. norris hall says:

    Hi. If you are interested in Thai cooking try this website
    http://www.thaifoodtonight.com
    It’s got about 30 recipes each one with a cooking video to go along
    Good if you like to try cooking Thai food at home

  36. Scrumptious says:

    Yay! Thanks for the link, Bee. It is so awesome to have a vegetarian version of this. Your blog is such a great resource – it certainly rescued me to have the Yellow Curry Paste from your recipe in my freezer!



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