Nam Prik Pao (Roasted Chili Paste)

1/2 cup (120 mL) whole dried red chiles
1/2 cup (120 mL) whole shallots, skin on
1/2 cup (120 mL) whole garlic cloves, skin on
1/4 cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 mL) fish sauce

Over a low to medium heat, put the dried red chiles intoa heavy skillet and slowly cook them, turning them frequently so that they do not burn, for about 5 minutes. They will start to change color, and you will have a big smell of chiles in the kitchen (probably making you cough).

Put the shallots and the garlic into the skillet and cook like the chiles. They will take longer to roast than the chiles, about 6 to 8 minutes, and they will start to soften. When roasted, remove from the skillet.

When the chiles, shallots and garlic have cooled, remove the skins of the shallots and garlic, and the stems of the chiles. To make the nam prik, you can use a blender, food processor ora mortar and pestle. Grind the chiles, shallots and garlic together until you have a thick paste.

Put the skillet over a low to medium heat, and when hot add ΒΌ cup (60 mL) oil. When the oil is hot, add the chile/garlic/shallot paste. Stir to mix the paste with the oil and cook slowly for about 5 minutes.

Remove from the skillet and mix in the fish sauce. When cool, transfer to a clean jar with a good lid.

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