Spicy Shrimp Paste Dip
Naam Prik Gapi is one of the oldest of Thai foods which is still eaten today. Dips like this are eaten with either raw or boiled vegetables and fish. This type of food pre-dates the Chinese introduction of woks and cooking oils. This is a very popular Central Thai dish.
- 2 green & white thai eggplants, tops cut off and sliced a bit so they’re easy to open. note: if you wet them before putting on a plate they’ll not brown as fast
- 1 cup cucumber, skinned and sliced as shown (roll cut)
- 1/2 cup wing beans, in 1 1/2″ slices
- 1/4 cup pea eggplants, tops removed
- 1/4 cup small white and/or green thai eggplants, tops removed
- 1/2 cup boiled ivy gourd, drained
- 5 small pla-too fish, fried whole about 3 minutes per side in 1/2 cup oil
- 1 1/2 cup cha-om omelette pieces (1 cup cha-om leaves + 3 eggs, fried in oil until browned on both sides and set)
- 1 tablespoon garlic cloves, de-skinned
- 2 tablespoons mostly red small thai chilies
- 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
- 1 teaspoon palm sugar
- 2 tablespoons sliced (and de-furred) hairy eggplant
- 3 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon small thai chilies or pea eggplants as garnish
- Pound the garlic and chilies together in a stone mortar & pestle to make a rough paste.
- Add the shrimp paste and pound to mix.
- Add the palm sugar, and pound to mix.
- Add the hairy eggplant slices and lime juice. Mix well and place in a small bowl to serve. Garnish with small Thai chilies or pea eggplants.
- Serve with vegetables, cut as shown.
- You can also serve with slices of ‘cha-om’ omelette, which is made by mixing 3 eggs with 1 cup cha-om leaves and frying in oil on high heat until set and browned on both sides.
The quality of your naam prik gapi depends on the quality of your shrimp paste. Most of the commercial (and sadly, export) brands are really strong smelling, and not very fragrant. We get our shrimp paste at Bangkok's Aww Daaw Gaaw Market, near the Chatuchack Weekend Market. If you're outside Thailand, and have friends coming to visit, ask them to pick up some for you while here.
If you're outside Thailand, and Thai vegetables are hard to come by, you can serve naam prik gapi with pretty much any raw vegetable.