This nam phrik is almost a salad and another example of the variation in styles of food preparation between cultures in close proximity. The decided lack of glutamate suggests a lower importance on the umami factor compared to most other cuisines around. An interesting point.



Ingredients:
  • 40 Thai bird's eye chillies
  • 20 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp of *MSG (optional)
  • 2 tsps of salt
  • 100 gm (4 oz) of chicken breast, thinly sliced.
Method:
  1. Peel the garlic and then add all of the cloves and all of the chillies to a mortar and pestle or a food processor, along with the salt and the MSG, and mash until almost paste like.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet and add the chicken pieces. Fry until well cooked.
  3. Remove the cooked chicken and keep the pan on a low heat to keep it on temp.
  4. Dice the chicken into small pieces and in the mortar pound the chicken slightly to separate the meat a little, but not into a paste.
  5. Transfer all the homogenised/pounded ingredients into the wok on the heat and fry until the contents are fragrant. As always take care when frying chillie as this really can cause a release of very acrid and choking fumes.
  6. Prepare some vegetable crudités with sliced cucumber, cabbage and iceberg lettuce and with steamed rice. The vegetable pieces are dipped into the nam prik as you go.
*MSG has a little more significance in Shan recipes as it is quite rare for fish sauce and fish pastes to be used. Once again it's not imperative to use this but rather an accustomed ingredient for these dishes. Leaving it out at worst reduces the savoury aspect but not the over-all enjoyment of the dish.
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