Nam prik is a kind of chile-based sauce or dip that can be found all over Thailand, while nam prik ong is a version from Northern Thailand made with dried chiles, ground pork and tomatoes. This recipe from Kanlaya Supachana of Brooklyn's Chiang Mai isn't subtle: Scoop up the dip with a piece of cabbage or cucumber, and you'll get a blast of heat—but despite the burn, you won't be able to stop eating it.
To learn more, read "Khao Tipping."
Nam Prik Ong
Recipe adapted from Kanlaya Supachana, Chiang Mai Restaurant, Brooklyn, NY
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus 20 minutes soaking time
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes, plus 20 minutes soaking time
12 dried bird's-eye chiles
10 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
6 medium shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon shrimp paste
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound ground pork
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped scallions (green and white parts)
Green cabbage, chayote, sliced Thai eggplant, sliced cucumber and pork rinds, for serving
1. Place the chiles in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let the chiles soak for 20 minutes to soften, then drain.
2. In a large mortar and pestle or in a food processor, pound or pulse the chiles, garlic, shallots, shrimp paste and salt until a coarse paste forms. Makes ¾ cup.
3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chile paste and cook until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pork and cook until the pork is no longer pink, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes have completely softened and the pork is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro and scallions.
4. Serve the nam prik ong with the cabbage, chayote, Thai eggplant, cucumber slices and pork rinds.