After 44 years of marriage, my dad still manages to surprise my mom. It might not be in big ways like when they were first dating, but in smaller everyday things.
Like when he overheard me telling my mom about this Thai young chili dip known as nam prik noom on the phone. I had just learned how to make it and was telling her about how roasting the jalapenos, banana peppers, garlic, and shallots really brings out their flavors. After hearing this, my dad stealthily snuck outside to pick some jalapenos from the garden and then overnighted them to me, all without my mom’s knowledge. It wasn’t until I called the next day to thank my mom for the wonderfully thoughtful package that she had any idea what he had been up to!
Of course, after receiving these gorgeous home-grown jalapenos, I had to put them to good use! I whipped one or two into some Thai-style fried eggs, but the majority were earmarked for this delicious young chili dip that I had been telling my mom about. The dip is really very easy to make and oh, it’s so good! It’s composed of just jalapenos, banana peppers, garlic, and shallots, but somehow the flavor is much more complex than that.
You start by roasting or grilling these ingredients, whole and unpeeled.
Once everything is nice and charred and flavorful, you pound them together to form a paste similar in consistency to, say, guacamole. Then fish sauce is added to taste and the dip is topped with some coarsely-chopped cilantro. I’ve also found that I like adding sesame seeds for some additional texture, but if you’re going for an authentic version, it’s probably best to skip this.
What results is a super flavorful, somewhat spicy dip that’s the perfect complement to steamed or fresh vegetables. It is also generally served with some deep-fried pork rinds (cab moo /แคบหมู), which is something that the boyfriend reminds me of every time I serve it to him with just vegetables. And, as with most Thai dishes, pair all of the above with some jasmine rice and you have a wonderful meal!
Whatever way you eat this young chili dip, it’s a great way to use home-grown jalapenos! (Thanks, Dad :))