Dish of Nam Prik Ong
(click to enlarge)

Tomato, Pork & Chili Dip
Laos / Thailand
  -   Nam Prik Ong
Makes
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
1-3/4 cup  
***
1-1/4 hr  
Yes
This dip/sauce from Laos and Issan Thailand is popular throughout both countries. It is often served with a plate of raw or steamed vegetables and fried pork rinds. It is also served over sticky rice. Feel free to vary the texture to suit your usage.



4
12
-----
1
1
1
1
3
10
5
5
2
-----
3
1
-----
1/4
oz
oz
----
lrg
T
t
T
oz
cl


t
----
T
T
----
c
Pork, lean
Tomatoes, ripe (1)
-- Paste
Lemon Grass (2)
Palm Sugar (3)
Salt
Cilantro Stems (4)  
Shallots
Garlic
Puya Chili, dry (5)
Thai Chili, dry (6)
Shrimp Paste (7)
-----------
Oil
Fish Sauce (8)
-- Garnish
Cilantro, chopped
Prep   -   (10 min)
  1. Chop PORK very fine.
  2. Chop TOMATOES small.
Paste   -   (40 min)
  1. Remove tough outer leaves from LEMON GRASS, cut off hard root end and pound thoroughly with the smooth side of your kitchen mallet - then slice crosswise as thin as you can for about 4 to 5 inches from the root end. Pound in a mortar with Salt until reduced to thin flakes.
  2. Chop CILANTRO STEMS and SHALLOTS fine. Add to the mortar and pound to paste.
  3. Crush GARLIC in a Garlic Press. Chop fine to break up fibers. Add to the mortar along with Palm Sugar and pound some more.
  4. Break PUYA CHILIS and dump out seeds. Grind together with THAI CHILIS in your spice grinder. Add to the mortar along with Shrimp Paste. Pound until all is well blended.
Run   -   (15 min)
  1. In a wok or spacious sauté pan, heat Oil and fry the Paste until fragrant.
  2. Stir in Pork and fry stirring until it has completely lost its raw color.
  3. Stir in Tomatoes and Fish Sauce. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer, stirring now and then, until the tomatoes are quite soft, about 7 minutes.
  4. Adjust consistency as needed. It should have a sauce consistency but not at all watery.
  5. When ready to serve, chop Cilantro and stir in. This dip can be served warm or cool.
NOTES:
  1. Tomatoes:   Ripe and Sweet is important here. In Laos, Cherry Tomatoes would be used
  2. Lemon Grass:   These tough grass stems are now widely available in North American markets that serve a Southeast Asian community. I've even seen them in some Korean markets. For details see our Lemon Grass page.
  3. Palm Sugar   This is available in pretty much all Southeast and East Asian markets. I buy it in lumps of about 1 Tablespoon each. If you don't have it, use a lightly refines sugar such as Turbinado.
  4. Cilantro Stems:   Include no leaves. This should actually be Cilantro Roots, but those are difficult to get even in Southern California. If you can get roots, use a little less if given by volume as they are not hollow like stems.
  5. Chilis, Puya:   In Thailand Prik Kaeng dried chilis would be used, but Mexican Puyas are an accurate substitute. Three of the more common Gujillo will also work fine.
  6. Thai Chilis, dry   Fresh or dry, these are very hot, so vary quantity according to your own best judgement. Five makes this sauce "satisfyingly hot" by Southern California standards. Fresh or dry, de Arbol Chilis are a good substitute. For details see our Chilis - Thailand & Laos page.
  7. Shrimp Paste:   Preferably Thai shrimp paste, which is a bit more refined than most. For details see our Shrimp Sauce / Paste page.
  8. Fish Sauce:   This clear liquid is as essential to Southeast Asian cuisine as it was to Imperial Rome. If you are unfamiliar with it, see our Fish Sauce - Introduction page.
  9. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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