While overt spicy heat is unusual for a northern Thai dish, nam phrik num—a relish revolving around grilled chiles—is an exception to this rule. The fiery condiment shouldn't have the consistency of a uniform paste—the goal is a tangle of spicy, pale green strands. Traditionally eaten with sticky rice and vegetables, nam phrik num works equally well as a dip for Thai-style sausage or fried chicken.
If you are unable to source phrik num, the traditional Thai chiles, a mix of Anaheim or poblanos and spicy serranos serve as an acceptable substitute.
This recipe is adapted from The Food of Northern Thailand by Austin Bush.
What You Will Need
- 18 oz. (500 g) phrik num chiles, or substitute 350 g poblano chiles and 150 g serrano chiles
- 3 oz. shallots, unpeeled
- 12 medium garlic cloves (2 oz.), unpeeled
- 1 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 tsp. Thai light soy sauce, plus more as needed
- Assorted vegetables, including fresh Thai eggplant and Thai herbs, or steamed pumpkin, cabbage, and long beans, for serving
- Deep-fried pork rinds, for serving
- Steamed Thai sticky rice, for serving