Nam Prik Ong | Thai Pork and Tomato Dip | น้ำพริกอ่อง
This is our favorite Thai-Style dip for lettuce wraps, Nam Prik Ong, from my Thai grandma's recipe! She always puts Thai Shrimp Paste in hers, but if you can't find it, no worries! I still love it without it too. (It's best to use sweet and sour baby tomatoes, but since I can't find those in our grocery store, we just use regular baby tomatoes and add in tamarind paste to make it sour.)
Background: When I think of nam prik ong, it brings me back to my Thai hubby's grandma’s house in Sukhothai, northern Thailand. From her “kitchen" (really just a burner set up on the floor of the back porch with bottles of Thai sauces around it), she'd bring out cabbage, long beans and fried pork rinds with a bowl of nam prik ong. We'd then eat it while watching Grandma’s favorite Thai or Korean soap operas.
- Shallots, diced & divided (3)
- Garlic, smashed and chopped (12 cloves)
- Dried Thai chilies (8-10 depending on spice preference)
- Cooking oil (3 Tablespoons)
- Baby tomatoes, quartered (2 cups)
- Tamarind paste (2 Tablespoons)
- Fish sauce (1 Tablespoon, more to taste)
- Palm sugar (2 Tablespoons, more to taste)
- Thai shrimp paste (optional) (2 teaspoons)
Soak the Thai chilies in warm water for at least 30 minutes to soften them up before their pounding.
Add soaked Thai chilies, half of the shallots and half of the garlic to your mortar and pestle. Pound until smooth.
*If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can use a food processor. It won't have the same authentic flavor, but still be delicious!
Add 3 tbsp. of cooking oil to a wok or large pan. Add the reserved garlic and shallots to the cold pan.
Stir-fry until brown and crisp. Keep stirring it while it fries and once it starts to turn golden, turn off the pan and keep stirring. It can quickly go from brown to burnt if you don't keep your eye on it.
Remove the fried garlic and shallots and place in a small bowl, but keep the garlic and shallot infused oil in the pan.
Now add the pounded chilies, garlic and shallots and stir-fry for a few minutes until fragrant.
Then add ground pork and combine well with chili mixture.
When the pork has cooked a little, add the tomatoes.
Crush the tomatoes with the back of your spatula to help them combine with the pork mixture.
Stir until pork is cooked through and combined well with the tomatoes.
Then add tamarind, fish sauce, sugar, shrimp paste, fried shallots and garlic, and mix it up. We like ours more sweet and sour with a slight salty taste.
You can serve it with lettuce wraps, cabbage, green beans, pork skins, or if you want to make it more fusion, serve it with chips, crackers or pita bread!
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