Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nam Prik Pao

Now what was it that was bothering me today? Here is a recipe for a Thai chili paste that will cure what ails you, both physically and psychically. It is labor intensive. The chilis let off an almost toxic smell when they roast (I use a cast iron skillet rather than the hot coals suggested in this recipe), and the shallots are forbiddingly expensive. Everything is gloopy, requiring many spoons, and it is a pain to find some of the ingredients, like tamarind. An hour later, Michael and I are still coughing.

(Sorry Michael. Wait until you taste it.)

Still, it is worth it. None of the Thai restaurants around here (which means within a hundred miles of here) make this paste without using shrimp. Many restaurants don't even have "prik" dishes on their menus. I imagine it might have something to do with the cost of shallots and the cooking smell from the roasting chilis, which could drive away customers. If you are lucky enough to live near a Thai restaurant that does have dishes with "prik" in their names, order one. You will understand.

I was having a lousy day, but one tiny taste of this chili paste seems to have readjusted all my negative feelings into relatively positive ones.

I was going to write a rant about globalization of music, and how small and insignificant it makes composers (like me) feel. But I guess that the very fact that I can make this delicious Thai chili paste in my small Midwestern town is also due to a kind of globalization. And I can also write a blog post about it and share the love, so I'll just carry on as usual.


Michael Leddy said...

C-c-cough — c-c-c-c-cough — h-h-h-h-hack.

Michael Leddy said...

But I am looking forward to forthcoming dishes.