Nam phrik

Nam phrik

Nam phrik kapi (foreground)
Alternative names น้ำพริก
Type Dip or hot sauce
Place of origin Thailand
Main ingredients Chili peppers
Cookbook: Nam phrik  Media: Nam phrik
Nam phrik num, a northern Thai specialty
Ready-to-eat nam phrik pla salat pon from Khorat
Nam phrik long ruea
Khao phat nam phrik narok is rice fried with nam phrik narok; here served with grilled pork and a nam chim (dipping sauce)

Nam phrik (Thai: น้ำพริก, pronounced [nám pʰrík]) is a generic term that may refer to any of the types of more or less viscous, spicy, chili-based, hot sauces typical of Thai cuisine. Usual ingredients for nam phrik are fresh or dry chilies, garlic, shallots, lime juice and often some kind of fish or shrimp paste. In the traditional way of preparing the sauce, the ingredients are pounded together using a mortar and pestle, with either salt or fish sauce added to taste.

Nam phrik is normally served on small saucers placed by the main dish as a condiment or dip for bland preparations, such as raw or boiled greens, fish, poultry and meats. Depending on the type, the region and the family that prepares it, nam phrik may vary in texture from a liquid to a paste to an almost dry, granular, or powdery consistency.

Instead of khrueang kaeng or phrik kaeng, the words nam phrik can also be used to denote Thai curry pastes such as in nam phrik kaeng som for kaeng som[1] or nam phrik kaeng phet for kaeng phet.[2]


The first Westerner to report of nam phrik was Simon de la Loubère, a French ambassador to the court of Ayutthaya. In 1687–88 he noted that it contains "a mustard like sauce, which consisted of crayfish corrupted (fermented fish); which they called kapi." King Chulalongkorn, regarded as one of the greatest kings of Thailand, repeatedly stated during his tour of Europe in 1907 that, besides khai chiao (omelette), he most missed nam phrik.[3] The chef David Thompson, an acknowledged expert on Thai cuisine, writes, "They are at the very core of Thai cooking and have fed the Thai from their distant past to the present."[4]

Chili peppers originated in the Americas, where they have been cultivated for over 6,000 years. They were probably introduced to Asia, and Thailand, in the 16th century by Portuguese emissaries and traders in what is known as the Columbian Exchange.[5][6][7] Before chili peppers were known and enthusiastically embraced in Thai cuisine, other spices such as black pepper, long pepper, and Sichuan pepper were used instead to achieve the desired "spiciness".[8]

Selected types

For "nam phrik" as curry pastes, see Thai curry

Types of nam phrik vary according to the ingredients, the preparation and the region. Some may include tamarind, green mango, galangal, lemongrass, and/or mushrooms and even ingredients such as frog.[9] If fish paste is used, it may be made in a variety of ways, by mincing dried, boiled, grilled or salted fish, or by using fish roe. In Isan, pla ra, giving an intense flavor, is often used. Some types of nam phrik may be sweetened with sugar. A Thai cook book from 1974 lists over 100 different recipes.[10] Among the most widespread varieties, the following deserve mention:

See also


  1. Chaslin, Pierre; Canungmai, Piyatep; Tettoni, Luca (1987). Discover Thai Cooking. Times Editions. ISBN 9971401126. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  3. Wongcha-Um, P (2009). "What Is Thai Cuisine?" (PDF). National University of Singapore. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  4. Wu, Olivia (14 July 2004). "Thai Salsa / Savory, sweet, sour, spicy -- nam prik is at the heart of Thai cuisine". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  5. "Thai food". Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  6. Robinson, Simon (14 June 2007). "How the chili spread from its South American home and spiced up world cuisine". Time. Tezpur, India. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  7. Holland, Michael (2012). "Chili Peppers". Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  8. Romero-Frias, Xavier (2013). "On the Role of Food Habits in the Context of the Identity and Cultural Heritage of South and South East Asia". Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  11. Nam Prik Kapi, the way Thais like it
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 7, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  17. Prik Pao (Thai Red Chilli Paste) Recipe
  18. "Thai Home Cooking", She Simmer's
  19. "Tam Ra Ahan Thai", Clay's Kitchen
  20. น้ำพริกปลาฉิ้งฉ้าง (Anchovy Fish Chilli Paste)
  21. น้ำพริกปลาร้า (ป่น)
  22. Nam phrik pla salat pon recipe
  23. น้ำพริกปลาย่าง
  24. น้ำพริกไตปลา
  25. Akkasit Jongjareonrak et al. Antioxidant activity of fermented fish viscera (Tai-Pla) from short-bodied mackerel, Faculty of Agro-Industry, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90112 Thailand
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