Ancient ‘naam phrik laao’ chili relish (ripe garlic chili relish) (น้ำพริกลาวโบราณ)

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By: Hanuman
naam-phrik-lao

In Lady Plean Passakornrawong’s book “Maae Khruaa Huaa Bpaa (MKHP) (ตำราแม่ครัวหัวป่าก์)”, naam phrik laao chili relish was employed in various recipes. Rarely used anymore this relish was used as a seasoning agent for salads or as a dipping sauce for dishes such as grilled prawns and young neem tree leaves and flower buds (กุ้งเผาสะเดาลวก), and chicken or duck cooked with galangal in coconut cream (dtohm khaa; ต้มข่าเป็ด หรือ ไก่). Naam phrik laao was pushed out of the Siamese culinary repertoire and was replaced by a more contemporary styled fried chili jam and sweetened fish sauce dip (naam bplaa waan; น้ำปลาหวาน).

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Naam phrik laao is almost identical to tamarind flesh chili relish (naam phrik sohm ma khaam bpiiak; น้ำพริกส้มมะขามเปียก) but, instead of using fresh garlic cloves, naam phrik laao deploys very ripe garlic cloves that have been stored long enough to turn transparent ivory and yellowish in color.

gratiem-suk

Naam phrik laao is also known as “cooked garlic chili relish (naam phrik gra thiiam sook ; น้ำพริกกระเทียมสุก)” because when it was difficult to find soft, ripened garlic cloves that had not rotted, Siamese cooks substituted steamed garlic cloves for the ripened ones.

Tamarind flesh chili relish, cooked garlic chili relish, and naam phrik laao werebasic elements of Central-style Siamese cuisine and were used in diverse dishes such as salads (yam), mixed seasoned rice dishes (khaao khlook; ข้าวคลุก) toppings for crispy rice crackers (naam phrik thaa khaao dtang ; น้ำพริกทาข้าวตัง) and Central Plains-style rice salads (khaao yam baaep phaak glaang ; ข้าวยำแบบภาคกลาง).

In “Tamra Aahaan Waang”, a book printed in 1936 for the Royal Cremation Ceremony of Princess Mao Thongthaem (ม.จ.หญิงเม้า ทองแถม), the wife of His Royal Highness, Prince Thongthaem Thavalyawongse, the 34th Son of Rama IV, Princess Mao Thongthaem uses naam phrik laao in her recipe for Central Plains-style rice salad (khaao yam baaep phaak glaang; ข้าวยำแบบภาคกลาง).

naam-phrik-lao
Ancient ‘naam phrik laao’ chili relish (ripe garlic chili relish) (น้ำพริกลาวโบราณ)
Naam phrik laao is almost identical to tamarind flesh chili relish (naam phrik sohm ma khaam bpiiak; น้ำพริกส้มมะขามเปียก) but, instead of using fresh garlic cloves, naam phrik laao deploys very ripe garlic cloves that have been stored long enough to turn transparent ivory and yellowish in color.
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Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 5 dried red long chili (phrik chee fa) (พริกชี้ฟ้าแห้ง) washed, deseeded, and rehydrated
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (เกลือทะเล)
  • 15 cloves Thai garlic (กระเทียมไทย) steamed until soft, and then peeled
  • 1/4 tablespoon tamarind flesh (เนื้อมะขามเปียก) minced

or alternatively

  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (น้ำมะขามเปียก)

Season with

  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice (น้ำมะนาว)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (น้ำปลา)
  • 5 tablespoons palm sugar (น้ำตาลมะพร้าว)

Instructions
 

  • Remove the seeds from the tamarind flesh and mince it on a cutting board with a knife. Set aside.
  • Steam the Thai cloves unpeeled until they are soft. Peel and set aside.
  • Wash the chilies, remove the seeds, and rehydrate them in boiling water.
  • Pound the chilies with salt in a mortar and pestle until the mixture is smooth, then add the garlic and tamarind flesh and pound to a fine consistency.
  • Season with lime juice, fish sauce, and palm sugar to a sour leading sweet and salty flavor profile, using the ratios indicated.

Notes

1. The flavor profile is sour-sweet-salty
2. if preparing naam phrik laao to season mixed rice dishes, make it somewhat runnier by diluting it with water.
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