Roasted Chili Paste
(Nam Prik Pao ; น้ำพริกเผา หรือ น้ำพริกผัด)

Click to listen to the Thai name pronunciation Listen to the Thai name pronunciation
By: Hanuman

Relishes are perhaps one of the most ancient forms of Thai food. Served with rice and some fresh vegetables normally picked from fences around the house. However, Thai simplicity is never bland.

nam phrik phao is designed to store well, almost indefinitely, and The Thai touch of ancient wisdom guarantees that besides being nutritionally balanced it is very delicious and clearly possesses its own unique personality.

In today’s Thai food jargon, Roasted chili paste is a mix up of what once used to be two very distinct dishes: roasted chili paste (nam phrik phao ; น้ำพริกเผา) and fried chili paste (nam phrik phat ; น้ำพริกผัด) – The former, the older between the two, is done by roasting all of the ingredients and the other by frying them one by one.

These days however, the fried version is what commonly sold under the name of roasted chili paste.  It is widely used as a condiment in salad dressing, soups and seasoning stir-fried dishes.

In order to assure that it will preserve well, one should follow a meticulous and strict protocol when making nam prik phat at home. The process starts by selecting only the best ingredients where each is carefully sorted and any imperfections are discarded.

Each ingredient is than washed clean in water and allowed to sundry completely over few hours under unforgiving sun. This process reduces the moist content and any impurities that can impair its ability to store for long time.

If sun is a rare ingredient in your country, an oven heated to 50°C (120°F) will do the job just fine.

I like to have control over my pantry ingredients so I invite you to prepare with me an homemade fried chili paste.


น้ำพริกเผาสมัยก่อนมีอยู่สองชนิด คือ น้ำพริกผัด และ น้ำพริกเผา ซึ่งในสมัยนี้น้ำพริกเผาที่ขายโดยทั่วไปแบบที่มีน้ำมันลอยอยู่บนหน้า คือ น้ำพริกผัด โดยในวันนี้หนุมานจะมานำเสนอน้ำพริกผัดใส่เปราะหอมและกุ้งแห้ง

น้ำพริกผัดเป็นน้ำพริกที่คิดขึ้นมาเพื่อให้เก็บเอาไว้ทานได้นาน ๆ ซึ่งมีคุณลักษณะเฉพาะตัว และ ที่สำคัญมีความอร่อยมากด้วย นี่คือตัวอย่างของความงามที่แท้จริงของอาหารไทย

Nam Prik Pao Recipe

Yield: 2 cups
preparation time: 5 hours
cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (ส่วนผสม)

  • 20 long dried chilies
  • 6 tablesspoon dried shrimp
  • 1/2 cup shallots (about 10 small shallots)
  • 1/2 cup garlic (about 10 medium cloves)
  • 7-8 Thin slices dried sand ginger
  • 4 tablespoon gabpi (fermented shrimp paste), roasted wrapped in aluminum foil or banana leaves until fragrant
  • 4 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoon palm sugar
  • neutral taste oil for frying
  • พริกแห้งเม็ดใหญ่ 20 เม็ด
  • กุ้งแห้ง 6 ช้อนโต๊ะ
  • หอมแดง 1/2 ถ้วย (ประมาณ 8 หัว)
  • กระเทียม 1/2 ถ้วย (ประมาณ 10 กลีบใหญ่)
  • เปราะหอม 7-8 แว่น
  • กะปิ – คั่วให้หอม 4 ช้อนโต๊ะ
  • น้ำปลา 4 ช้อนโต๊ะ
  • น้ำมะขามเปียก 1/2 ถ้วย
  • น้ำตาลมะพร้าว 2 ช้อนโต๊ะ
  • น้ำมันสำหรับผัด

Method (วิธีทำ)

  1. de-seed dry chilies
  2. soak in warm water until soft
  3. strain
  4. soak the dried shrimp in lukewarm water and clean thoroughly and strain
    นำกุ้งแห้งไปล้างน้ำให้สะอาด เอาขึ้นผึ่งให้แห้ง
  5. peel the shallots and garlic and remove any imperfections. wash clean and dry.
    นำหอมแดง และ กระเทียม ปอกเปลือกออก ล้างน้ำให้สะอาด และผึ่งให้แห้ง
  6. allow to sundry for few hours or dry in a low heat oven (50°C or 120°F) to reduce moist content
    นำพริกแห้ง กุ้งแห้ง หอมแดง และ กระเทียม ไปตากแดดให้แห้ง หรือ อบในเตาอบในอุณหภูมิ 50 องศาจนแห้งก็ได้ เพื่อลดความชื้นและช่วยทำให้สามารถเก็บได้นานขึ้น
  7. in a frying pan, fry separately each of the ingredient; the dry chilies, shallots, garlic, sand ginger, dry shrimp and the fermented shrimp paste
    ใส่น้ำมันลงในกระทะแล้วนำพริกแห้ง หอมแดง กระเทียม เปราะหอม กุ้งแห้ง และ  กะปิคั่ว ผัดให้แห้ง จนมีกลิ่นหอมและเหลืองกรอบที่ละอย่าง
  8. remove access oil by placing the fried ingredients on pepper towel
  9. in a mortar and pestle pound sand ginger to powder
  10. add dry shrimp and pound fine, set the mixture aside
    นำกุ้งแห้งลงไปโขลกจนป่นเป็นฝอย เสร็จแล้วพักในถ้วย
  11. in a mortar and pestle pound dry chilies to fine paste
  12. add garlic and shallots and pound until it become a fine paste
    นำหอมแดง และ กระเทียม ลงไปโขลกให้เข้ากัน
  13. add fermented shrimp paste and mix well together
    จากนั้นใส่กะปิ ลงโขลกให้เข้ากันอีกครั้ง
  14. add the dry shrimp and sand ginger mixture
    เติม เปราะหอม และ กุ้งแห้งป่นฝอยที่โขลกไว้แล้วลงไป
  15. season with fish sauce
  16. add palm sugar and tamarind paste
    ใส่น้ำมะขามเปียก และ น้ำตาลมะพร้าว ลงไป
  17. mix everything together
  18. fry the mixture with 1/2 cup neutral flavor oil over medium heat until fragrant and the color deepens.
  19. store in a well sealed container with a bit of oil on top.
21 comments… add one
  • Avatar haya Jul 18, 2010, 4:27 pm

    hey hanuman
    I am amazed by your professionalism you are more Thai than
    the locals.but i am not surprised. enjoying

  • Avatar kai Jul 19, 2010, 2:35 pm

    ขอบคุณสำหรับสูตรอาหาร น่ากินมาเลยค่ะ คุณเป็นฝรั่งที่ทำอาหารไทยได้น่ากินมาก ๆ เลย

  • Avatar khankluay Jul 19, 2010, 10:18 pm

    คลุกข้าวสวยร้อนๆ อร่อยแน่ๆ เลยครับ

  • Avatar หนิง Jul 19, 2010, 11:12 pm

    น่ากิน แต่จะอร่อยหรือเปล่าก็ไม่รู้ ฮาฮาฮ่า

  • Avatar Vodka Jul 24, 2010, 4:55 am

    Khun Hanuman

    If i don’t have dried sand ginger, can i skip it.

    Thank you.

    • Avatar Hanuman Jul 24, 2010, 9:00 am

      Yes, of course you can ;-)

  • Avatar Kookkai Oct 19, 2010, 10:11 am

    Sawasdee Kha khun Hanuman,

    I’m wondering if you work in the palace. Your story and detail are delightful.
    You are a super Hanuman! I’ve learned a lot from your site.

    • Avatar Hanuman Oct 19, 2010, 10:49 am

      Thank you K. Kookkai I appreciate your kind comment!

  • Avatar Paul L Jun 21, 2011, 10:48 am

    Khun Hanuman:

    I really love your cooking recipe. Much much much authentic and in great detail than most Thai chef. You are a true gem.
    I am surrounded by many vegan friends, and am a big fan of vegetarian food myself. I know most Thai dishes come with some sort of meat, even in “nam pla” or “ka-pi” – the most commonly used ingredient in many chili paste. I would love to see your version of vegetarian Thai dishes.
    Just a quick question – what’s the best substitution of dried shrimp and ka-pi when making the vegetarian version of Nam Prik Pao?

    • Avatar Hanuman Jun 22, 2011, 9:53 am

      Hello K.Paul and thank you for the kind words. many of ingredients you mentioned do have a vegetarian substitute (called ‘jaeh’ เจ), Jaeh does not allow the use of very pungent ingredients such as onions and garlic as well as non vegetarian ingredients, if you are in Thailand, a good place to look for such ingredients is Chinatown in Bangkok.

      Fish sauce – substitute with Light soy sauce
      Fermented shrimp paste: substitute with fermented soybeans cakes, you can do your own or if you can get the northern variety – ‘Tua Nao
      Nam Prik Pao – Make your own or get a “Jaeh” pre-made one
      Dry shrimp – probably a case by case thing, but i am sure dried shiitake mushroom can serve as a substitute in some instances.


  • Avatar Paul L Jun 22, 2011, 1:02 pm

    Thanks Khun Hanuman. I appreciated you’re taking time responding most questions. I live in LA so it’s difficult finding true vegetarian version of Thai ingredients. I have no choice but must allow garlic and onion in my vegan cooking as I don’t think it cause any harm to animals. Your suggestion of “tua nao” and shitake mushroom has been a great hint, and I am sure it will work well as meat substitute.

    By the way, I am not a vegetarian but I am a big lover of it. I am sure you know there are more and more people turn their diet into vegetarian, and I look forward to see more of your non-meat cooking recipe.

    Thank you.

  • Avatar Zahn Jan 2, 2013, 11:06 am

    I just found your site and I think it is great. I do not eat shellfish or fish without fins and scales. I would love to make chicken with pineapples, pistatios, rice, etc. I tasted some when I visited Las Vegas and hope i did not get this with shrimp in it. Can you give me a Kosher recipe for this dish. Thanks much

    • Avatar Hanuman Jan 3, 2013, 9:57 pm

      substitute the dry shrimp with dry fish available from asian markets

  • Avatar Shelly R Jul 17, 2014, 5:23 am

    This is just the way I remember it, but never knew how to make it. I have craved it for years. Thank you for posting this recipe and instructions!

  • Avatar Larry Fournillier Jul 20, 2015, 6:26 pm

    Hi Hanuman,

    I just came up your great site, very authentic indeed. I currently have a Google+ Collection called Taste Thailand – Authentic Thai Cooking and Food, here is a link to my G+ profile (+LarryFournillier ) and I plan on re-sharing your awesome and authentic recipes with my followers. Have you created any videos on any of your recipes? Thanks again and it was great connecting with you!

    Best Regards,

    • Avatar Hanuman Jul 20, 2015, 7:52 pm

      Nice to meet you Larry, Thanks for stopping by.

  • Avatar David Sep 17, 2015, 6:27 am

    Well, what a delightful find! I’ve been on a tear of cooking Thai food, and recently have been eating lots of steamed vegetables and sticky rice with assorted naam phriks. I felt like trying a new one and ran across your site. Your version of naam phrik pao starred in tonight’s dinner and was delicious. I’ve bookmarked your site and look forward to trying other things. Kahpoon-khrap!

  • Avatar Aly Dec 28, 2018, 8:38 pm

    Roughly, how long does a fried paste like this keep? (provided it’s always kept in a glass jar in the fridge with oil on top). And how to tell if it not good anymore?
    Thank you

    • Avatar Hanuman Dec 31, 2018, 8:55 am

      it will store for many months theoretically for few years

  • Avatar Robert Neff Feb 14, 2021, 2:09 am

    I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter. Thanks.

    • Avatar Hanuman Feb 14, 2021, 8:14 pm

      added ;-)

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