Thai Chili Pasta – Nam Prik Pao


This classic Thai chili paste is super versatile. We use it in the famous tom yum goong soup, we add it to stir-fries like the classic cashew chicken, and we even use it in salad dressings like Wing Bean Salad (Yum Tuapu)! In Thailand it is also used as a spread on toast, sometimes as part of a sandwich, so just experiment!

Thai chili paste

Use as a topping on crackers, toast, burgers and sandwiches, or use in any of these recipes: Cashew Chicken, Tom Yum Goong , Shrimp & Chili Paste Wok, Grilled Pork Salad, Thai Tuna Salad, Wing Bean Salad

Nam Prik Pao

Thai Chili Pasta (Nam Prik Pao)

It is spicy and sweet, with rich flavors of roasted vegetables
Servings 1.6 dl


1 Mortar
1 Food processor


  • 8-10 st Big Chilies I use Red Spanish Chili, but you can use any type of mild dried chili
  • 2 msk Dried shrimps
  • 10 gaps Garlic (Whole cloves, peeled)
  • 4 st Shallots (peeled, coarsely chopped)
  • 2-3 msk Tamarind juice
  • 0,25 msk Salt
  • 1 msk Fish sauce
  • 3 msk Palm sugar
  • 0,25 msk Shrimp paste
  • 0,6 dl Vegetable oil (if you want a more oily pasta, add more oil)


  • If your dried chilies feel dusty, dip them in cold water for just a few seconds and dry them on paper towels. Cut them into large pieces with scissors and remove the seeds and pulp to reduce the spiciness. If you want a spicier chili paste, you can leave some of the seeds in.
    8-10 st Big Chilies
  • Toast the dried chiles in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they are charred in some places and smell smoky. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same pan, add the garlic and shallots and roast, stirring constantly, until charred. Remove from pan.
    10 gaps Garlic, 4 st Shallots
  • In a coffee grinder or mortar, grind dried chilies into a powder. Add dried shrimp and grind until fine.
    2 msk Dried shrimps
  • In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients except the oil and grind to a fine paste. If it needs more liquid to grind properly, add some or all of the oil. If using a food processor, scrape down the sides occasionally.
    2-3 msk Tamarind juice, 0,25 msk Salt, 1 msk Fish sauce, 3 msk Palm sugar, 0,25 msk Shrimp paste
  • Transfer chili paste to a pot or wok along with any remaining vegetable oil. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, for about 10-12 minutes to cook the herbs and to thicken the paste to the desired consistency. If you make a large batch, it will take longer to cook.
    0,6 dl Vegetable oil
  • Store in a glass jar and it will keep in the fridge for a few months or in the freezer forever.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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