One day this past summer, the boyfriend and I ventured across town to do a little Thai grocery shopping. We found so many different fresh fruits, vegetables, sauces, and pastes in our day of shopping! I was so excited by all of it that towards the end of the day, I was randomly picking up one of each paste I found — not knowing exactly what it was, but thinking that it would surely come in handy at some point…
One of the pastes that I picked up that day was called “prik king curry paste”. It was packaged like all of the other Mae Anong brands of curry pastes that I’m already familiar with, so I figured it was used to make a type of curry that I just haven’t encountered yet. As such, it’s been sitting in my pantry for a while now, waiting for me to look into it.
Well, I finally did and, I have to tell you, it’s not used to make a curry at all!
Prik king paste is probably more accurately described as a chili paste rather than a curry paste. It’s used to make various stir fried dishes, the most common of which is probably “pad prik king moo” or pork stir fried with chili paste. It’s a simple dish of pork and green beans stir fried with this chili paste, red pepper, garlic, and kaffir lime leaves. And, oh, it’s so delicious.
The prik king chili paste is made mainly of red chilis, galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime peel so it’s wonderfully fragrant as well as spicy. And by adding more kaffir lime leaves while you cook this dish, you’re just enhancing the fragrance so the dish pops with flavor!
The taste of the prik king chili paste is actually pretty similar to a chili-based dip that I made earlier this year, nam prik ong or Northern Thai dip. It seems like they’re made in similar ways, with red chilis and lemongrass as prominent ingredients. I’ll look into making this prik king chili paste from scratch at some point, but for now, I’m just really happy to have discovered this wonderful paste in my pantry!