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This pungent condiment is served at virtually every Xiong family meal. Stir it into soups or stir-fried dishes, like the stir-fried angled luffa with beef, or serve it on its own with rice. Vary the amount of chiles according to your tolerance for heat.

Yield: makes About 1/3 Cup


  • 18 small green thai chiles, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 12 tsp. salt
  • 3 scallions (green parts only), roughly chopped
  • 12 cup lightly packed chopped cilantro leaves


  1. For moderately hot results, put chiles and salt into a mortar (alternatively, use a small food processor). Working the pestle in a circular motion, crush chiles and salt against the sides of the mortar until a coarse paste forms.
  2. Add scallions and cilantro and, switching to an up-and-down pounding motion, work the pestle to combine the ingredients well, transforming the mixture into a wet, rough-textured relish. Transfer to a small bowl and serve.