A relish from chilies, dried shrimp, tamarind flesh, garlic and fermented shrimp paste (kapi), pounded, seasoned, and then fried in pork lard; then seasoned with palm sugar and fish sauce; and served with fresh vegetables, cucumber, white turmeric, and fingerroot.
This is a simple relish built on top of a standard fermented shrimp paste (kapi) chili relish, with simple additions for which all its additional ingredients can be obtained from around the home – as was common in Siam for so many centuries. The tamarind is a large tree and, as such, it was popular to plant it near the house in order to enjoy its shade and find refuge from the scorching sun. The tree also provides a year-round supply of ingredients that are essential to Siamese cuisine – its young leaves, flowers, and pods.
This relish can be served as is or used to season rice dishes.
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- 2 parts dried red long chili (phrik chee fa) (พริกชี้ฟ้าแห้ง) Deseeded and rehydrated
- 1 part fermented shrimp paste (kapi)(กะปิย่างไฟ) grilled
- 1 part Thai garlic (กระเทียมไทย)
- 3/4 parts tamarind flesh (เนื้อมะขามเปียก)
- 3/4 parts dried shrimp pounded to powder (กุ้งแห้งป่น)
- 3/4 parts pork fat cracklings (กากหมู)
- 1/2 part madan (sour cucumber, มะดัน)(garcinia schomburgkiana) optional
- fish sauce (น้ำปลา) as needed
- 1 part palm sugar (น้ำตาลมะพร้าว)
- pork lard (น้ำมันหมู) for frying
- lime juice (น้ำมะนาว)
- An overview of the relish ingredients
- Separate the tamarind flesh, removing the seeds and discarding the fibrous threads.
- On a cutting board, mince the tamarind flesh using a knife. You may need to oil the knife if the tamarind sticks to it.
- Deseed and rehydrate the dried chilies in hot water.
- In a mortar and pestle, pound the rehydrated chilies with salt to a smooth paste.
- Add the Thai garlic and the grilled fermented shrimp paste (kapi) and keep pounding until both ingredients lose their distinctive odor.
- Add dried shrimp powder.
- Add the tamarind flesh and pound to make a smooth paste.
- Add the chili paste and pound to mix all the ingredients together. Season the relish to a sour-salty-sweet with fish sauce, and palm sugar. Start by seasoning the salty element first, using fish sauce.
- Add palm sugar at the ratios indicated.
- Add pork fat cracklings and crush them into small pieces.
- Optional: add sliced hairy-fruited eggplant (มะอึก) or madan fruit and bruise it. Alternatively, you can substitute carambola (star fruit) for the madan fruit or omit it altogether.
- Once you are satisfied with the relish seasoning fry it in pork lard.
- Serve with: fried semi-salted and sun-dried fish. Leaves and flowers fried in batter. Fresh vegetables such as cucumber, white turmeric, and fingerroot, or as part as khaao man sohm dtam (ข้าวมันส้มตำ)