Thai red chili paste is a versatile and quintessential flavoring paste in Thai cuisine. So, let’s take a quick peek into Thai red chili paste ingredients and see what makes it so flavorful.
Thai red chili paste is one of the traditional foods in Thailand. This paste usually contains red chilies and garlic as the main spices. In addition, it is also often flavored with other ingredients like shallots, palm sugar/ coconut sugar/ brown sugar, tamarind, shrimp paste or anchovy paste, salt, etc.
Read until the end to know everything about this delightful Thai relish!
What Is Thai Red Chili Paste?
Thai red chili paste, popularly known as Nam Prik Pao in the Thai community, is simply used as an ingredient in most hot and savory foods or enjoyed as a condiment. This paste is also called the Thai red chili jam since it has a jam-like consistency.
As the name suggests, the base of this condiment is chilies. And mostly mild roasted Thai red chilies are combined with powerful ingredients like garlic, shallots, and shrimp paste. Accordingly, this chili paste is huge in flavor with spicy, savory, umami, sweet, and smoky undertones.
Thailanders use this paste in many of their traditional dishes, like Tom Yum Goong soup and Pad Thai. In addition, this can also be an excellent base for many other soups, stews, curries, and you can even enjoy it with toasted bread or crackers.
This is quite similar to Thai red curry paste, but red curry paste is still a bit more intense in flavor with additional flavoring elements. Besides, Thai red curry paste is not generally served as a condiment, while this chili paste works both as a condiment and an ingredient.
You don’t have to rely upon store-bought options when you can make a batch of Thai red chili paste out of fresh ingredients. So, we have shared a tasty and easy recipe right in this article- go check it out!
What Spices Are In Thai Red Chili Paste?
01- Red Chilies
Red chilies are the flavoring base and the most essential spice of this condiment. Traditionally, this is made with sun-dried Thai red chilies. Sometimes chili pastes are made with one type of chili, while some recipes contain a milder variety and hotter chilies.
Thai red chilies usually range from 50,000 to 100,000 SHU units depending on the type. However, the red chilies used to make this chili paste is typically dry-roasted to get that iconic smokey flavor and the beautiful deep red color.
All the other ingredients used in this are paired according to the flavor profile of this spice. In fact, saltiness, sweetness, and sourness beautifully balance the overall spiciness gotten from the chilies.
Assume that you need to make your favorite Thai dish, but you don’t have Thai red chili paste at home. In that case, we have ventured the five best substitutes that you could use if you have run out of the original paste. Click here for more information!
Fresh garlic adds a unique zing to our topic leader with its intense and powerful garlicky note. In most recipes, whole, peeled garlic cloves are toasted with shallots until charred. And this basically intensifies its pungency and helps to strengthen the overall savoriness of this chili paste.
Other Thai Red Chili Paste Ingredients
One special thing about Thai red chili paste is its authentic, traditional recipe has not evolved much over the years. Apart from red chilies and garlic, most other ingredients used remain similar in almost every recipe and brand.
Consequently, red shallots, tamarind (tamarind concentrate/ paste/juice), shrimp paste/ anchovy paste, fish sauce, and dried shrimps are among the other main ingredients. In addition, a sweetener like palm sugar, coconut sugar, or brown sugar is used to balance out the flavor with salt.
And in most recipes, some type of oil like vegetable oil or soybean oil is used along with water to get the texture. Store-bought options may sometimes contain nuts and other preservatives or additives to extend the expiry.
Is Thai Red Chili Paste Vegan-Friendly?
The authentic Thai red chili paste contains animal traces like dried shrimps, fish sauce, shrimp paste, or anchovy paste. Therefore, originally this chili paste was not considered vegan-friendly. But, you can find vegan-friendly options in the store now, and there are also many homemade vegan Thai red chili paste recipes on the internet.
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Flavor-Loaded Thai Red Chili Paste Brings The Perfect Balance To Your Plate!
Coming together with red chilies, garlic, shallots, shrimp paste, fish sauce, salt, sugar, oil, etc., Thai red chili paste makes a perfect savory companion to most of your Thai or Asian-inspired dishes. It is vibrant, decadent, and holds a subtle balance of savoriness, sweetness, and umami flavor notes.