Nam Phrik Kapi (น้ำพริกกะปิ)
Nam Phrik Kapi is another Thai dipping sauce that is served with steamed rice, fresh or steamed vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, green beans, Thai eggplant, Thai omelet, and fried short mackerel. Nam Phrik Kapi is a popular dish in central and southern Thailand, but you can find the dish in every region of Thailand.
What is Nam Phrik Kapi?
It is the combination of shrimp paste, Thai chili peppers, and lime juice. Nam Phrik Kapi is a very tasty dipping sauce that is sour, sweet, salty, and spicy but not too spicy. People who didn't grow up with, or are familiar with Southeast Asia cuisine, may feel overwhelmed with the strong taste and smell of the shrimp paste. Here's the thing though, I know one white guy who married a Thai woman, and he said: "to get over the smell of any kind of fermented food is to stick your face over the food and take a deep breath, do it several time and you'll get used to it!" To be honest, I'm not sure about that theory. I'm not brave enough to try it on my (white) husband either.
Tips for making the Nam Phrik Kapi
Cooking Thai food on the other side of the world (the U.S) is a kind of challenging for me. Fortunately, I can find so many ingredients in Asian grocery stores around the city. Originally, the recipe for Nam Phrik Kapi calls for fresh garlic which I always did, but for some reason, I didn't like the version of that recipe. The combination of the fresh garlic and shrimp paste was too intense. I felt like I shouldn't talk with anybody after the meal unless I brush my teeth and clean my mouth with mouthwash. So, I thought how would I get rid of that problem! Hmm, so I redid the dipping and this time I wrapped the garlic with an aluminum foil and bake them. According to my experience, cooked garlic has less odor than fresh garlic!
Here's the printable recipe!
- 4 garlic cloves
- 8 Thai chili peppers
- 1 ½ tablespoon shrimp paste
- 2 Thai eggplants, thin sliced
- 1 tablespoon Stevia
- 6 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoon hot water
- Wrap the garlic cloves and shrimp paste in an aluminum foil (separately wrapped) then bake them at 400 Fahrenheit degrees for 15 minutes.
- Put the garlic in a mortar and crush them with a pestle until the garlic is smooth.
- Add Thai chili peppers in the mortar, crush it until it's smooth if you like extra spicy or break them for the less spicy.
- Add shrimp paste in the mortar and knead it with the pestle then add Thai eggplants, Stevia, lime juice, and water.
- Mix all the ingredients together, keep mixing until the Stevia dissolves.
- Serve the Nam Phrik Kapi with steamed brown rice, fresh or steamed vegetables, Thai omelet or boiled eggs, fried short mackerel. Enjoy!