Monday, July 23

Nam Plah Prik Kee Noo or "fish sauce with chilies"

Ever since I moved to Long Beach, CA, home to over 50,000 Cambodian immigrants and said to be the second largest Cambodian community in the world after Phnom Penh, I've had easy access to some of the tastiest and most authentic Cambodian and Thai food in the US. In fact, some of these restaurants are so authentic that they even give you a spoon to eat with, just like in the old country.

Try Sophy's Fine Thai and Cambodian Cuisine if you live in the area, and I promise you won't be disappointed. My favorite dishes are the Chan Pu (a spicy fried noodle dish with green onions and real crab), the Thai green curry, and the Tom Kha Gai (Thai coconut soup). None of these would be complete however, without the addition of some nam plah prik or fish sauce with Thai chilies, available by special request. The waitress always laughs at me when I ask for this condiment, and claims that I'm the only white guy that has ever wanted it. Personally, I think nam plah prik kee noo is to Thai food, as bitters are to a cocktail. In other words, this condiment greatly enhances the flavor of just about any Thai dish, and I can't do without it. Here is the recipe:

--Nam Plah Prik Kee Noo:

* 6 Tbs. Thai fish sauce (nam plah, น้ำปลา)
* 5 Tbs. fresh lime or orange juice
* 2 large cloves garlic chopped finely
* 1 Shallot cut lengthwise and sliced very thinly (optional)
* 8 fresh Thai bird's eye chili peppers (prik kee noo, พริกขี้หนู, literally "mouse shit chili"), stems removed and sliced into very thin rounds

1. Combine everything in a small bowl and keep refrigerated. Wash your hands with cold water after cutting the chilies, and before using the bathroom. I learned the hard way.

4 comments:

Riya said...

ermmmmm no offence

but, our "nam pla prik" looks a bit different than the one in the picture.

SteamyKitchen said...

This would be SO good with some fried noodles

Will said...

Steamykitchen, I love this sauce on Thai drunk noodles! By the way, your blog rocks, and the photography is top notch in my humble opinion :) Cheers!

Michael said...

The Nam Blah will crystalize to paste or even small rocks if left to dry out over time or more quickly in the winter in the USA when humidity drops to low levels, just add more water. The peppers also lose their kick over time but do transfer some to the nam blah itself. Different brands of Nam Blah has different tastes, not all smell so strongly or taste so fishy. Nam blah is used by Thais as we use salt, they don't use granulated salt because salt will draw water from the very humid tropical air and become wet, putting a few rice grains in the salt shaker helps but it's still a problem with salt shaker tops getting clogged. The air in Thailand is also humid, when you pour cold water into a glass the outside of the glass will become immediately dripping wet which is why you are given a glass with a deep coaster to catch the water and keep the glass from dripping water all over your pants or skirt - embarassing. When you handle Thai peppers washing with water alone won't help, the pepper oil isn't water soluable, you must use some kind of soap. The oil in the peppers is very persistant. Be aware of your hands getting near your eyes, if you haven't washed your hands VERY thoroughly and unconsciously touch your eyes you will know it immediately and for a good long while. Ask me how I know.