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Table scene of chilies and nam prik pao from above.
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4.80 from 5 votes

nam prik pao

Nam prik pao is that Thai chili paste you see everywhere. It adds a ton of flavour to anything you use it with.
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: condiment
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: nam prik pao, thai chili paste
Calories: 570kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


  • 3/4 cup thai dried chilies or similar
  • 8 cloves garlic unpeeled
  • 2 large shallots unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • small drizzle sesame oil (optional)


  • Turn on your vent hood. This is going to get intense. Toss the chilies into a skillet and toast them over low heat. You don't want them to burn so keep your heat fairly low. They should be done after about 4 or 5 minutes. Let them cool.
  • Slice your shallots in half. Put them in a cast iron pan, cut side down, over medium heat. Add the garlic. Dry roast until the shallots start to char. While that's happening flip the garlic every minute or so.
  • When the shallots are charred (check them - there's no other way) flip them over. Keep flipping your garlic. When it's all soft remove from heat and let cool. Remove the peels on both the garlic and shallot.
  • Combine all the ingredients except the oil.
  • Now the fight starts. It is not easy to puree this stuff. You can use a small food processor. That works. Kind of. Or you can grind manually in a mortar and pestle. That works better.
  • Sometimes, when I'm using a food processor I give up and add the oil into the mix. Technically you are supposed to fry the paste in oil. But I find when you start cooking it off some of the oil comes out. And your goal is to get the oil into the paste anyway.
  • Once you have pureed it pour the oil (if you haven't already added it to the paste) into a small frying pan and heat over medium low heat.
  • When the oil starts to shimmer add the paste and fry, stirring regularly, for about 4-5 minutes. It will darken a bit and start to give off quite a rich aroma. When you get the aroma it's done. You will get it when you get there.
  • Alternately, If you added the oil to get the paste to puree transfer it to a dry pan and cook over medium low heat as above.
  • Nam prik pao stores well in a small jar for weeks in the fridge.


Calories: 570kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 481mg | Potassium: 263mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 99IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 1mg