nam prik noom (northern Thai green chili dipping sauce)

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There are many dipping sauces in Thailand. This one is nam prik noom (นำพริกหนุ่ม) from northern Thailand. “Nam” means sauce. It is made from a long pale green chili about 6 inches long called prik noom  (พริกหนุ่ม)–sorry, couldn’t find an English translation on the internet. It is spicy but not fiery hot. On my subjective scale of one to ten with ten being tongue-numbing, I’d say this is a five. Nam prik noom is absolutely delicious, especially when eaten the traditional way with salty, crunchy pork rinds.  Serve it with an ice cold beer, or in true Thai style, with ice in the beer. 

Nam Prik Noom (Northern Thai Green Chili Dipping Sauce)
Makes 1/2 cup

4 Prik Noom (a slender light green chili that’s about 6 inches long)
4 large cloves garlic with skin
6 small shallots with skin
1 teaspoon salt or to taste

Special equipment: mortar and pestle

Roast the chili over an open flame to char and blister the pepper. I used an open gas burner fitted with a wire rack, to roast the peppers. Turn peppers frequently with a pair of metal tongs. Don’t try to turn it with your fingers. When it is completely softened, remove the chilis to a rimmed baking tray to cool completely. By then they will have turned olive green. Cut off the stems of the prik noom and discard, keeping the chilis whole, peeling and discarding the charred skin. Set aside.

In the same pan, roast the garlic cloves and shallots in the skin until softened and blackened on the outside, shifting the pan occasionally, about 5 minutes. Be careful as the heat can make the garlic and shallots explode, so you might cut a small slit in each one as a precaution. Cool and peel the garlic and shallots, discarding the papery skin.

Put the garlic, shallots, and salt to taste in the bottom of the mortar and pound until fine. Add the peeled whole prik noom to the mortar and pound until the peppers are thin strips. Mix, scooping up the bottom and bringing it to the top, and pound lightly a few times. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator.

Bring the nam prik noom to room temperature and serve it with pork rinds.

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