October 17, 2009

Thai Condiments

Soy sauce or Tomato Ketchup?!

While soy sauce in Asia is abundant in their cooking, it is generally not served as a condiment on the table, and I’ve even been told that it is the Thai version of our tomato ketchup – i.e. it should not be put on everything, regardless of whether you agree or disagree! However, I always believe that everyone has different tastes, and I can never get enough of the stuff, so if you’re asking my opinion, go right ahead…. Other condiments that regularly appear on the table include:
  • Salt
  • Chilli flakes
  • Mixed pickled chilli
  • Lime wedges (brought out with dish, whether soup, noodles or rice)
  • Nam Prik

Nam Prik is a great addition to all types of soups, but I have also seen locals put it over rice and noodle dishes. It has for me now become a bit of a rough estimation that I recall from memory, but I’m sure you can Google for the right amount of ingredients if so desired! Recipe's do vary but this is my favourite.

Don't be put off by the quantities of garlic and chilli – whenever I serve it to a Nam Prik virgin, they’re always a bit skeptical about adding it to their soup, but it really does make all the difference.

Nam Prik

Serves 4:

4-5 garlic cloves

1-2 small red chillies (1 tspn chilli flakes will do if you do not have fresh to hand)

4 tbspn fish sauce

3 tbspn Chinese cooking wine (available from bigger supermarkets and Asian food stores)

1 lime - juiced

Peel and chop the garlic sideways into round slices, and the same with the chilli (it is fine to leave the seeds inside). Put all the ingredients together into a small bowl. Add around a tablespoon to your soup – but start small, and add more as you go if necessary.

You can also keep Nam Prik for a week or two in the fridge.

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