Recipe for Nam Prik Ong (Thai Pork and Tomato Chile Dip)


A balanced, multi-dish Thai dinner must include chilli relishes or dips, known as Nam prik. A spicy Nam prik functions as a palate cleanser and refresher when served with a variety of raw, boiled, or steamed vegetables because the veggies’ fresh crunch balances the dip’s powerful sinus-clearing ability from the crushed chiles. Nam prik ong is a pork-based delicacy from northern Thailand that combines fermented soybeans, shrimp paste, sweet tomatoes, and spice from dried chillies that have been crushed.

Fortunately, making Nam prik ong is also quite simple. To begin, dry chillies are burned in a dry pan and then ground with lemongrass, garlic, shallots, and shrimp paste to a coarse paste in a mortar and pestle. The unusual addition of charred plum tomatoes, which adds further depth of tomato flavour, is incorporated into the paste for smoky, sweet acidity.


Preparing the dip

Before adding ground pork to the wok, the paste is fried in sizzling oil to bloom the aromatics. Cherry tomatoes are added when the pork has just finished cooking and are allowed to burst. This gives the dish a saucy consistency and a vivid brightness that is matched by a sauce made of soy sauce, fermented soybean paste, fish sauce, water, and a little bit of sugar. The dish is cooked until it has the consistency of Bolognese, and then it is allowed to cool to room temperature before being served.

You’re only limited by your ingenuity with this dip because it is so tasty and versatile.

Tomato Chile Dip


For the paste:

  • 10-15 small dried spur chillies (15g)
  • 100g plum tomatoes
  • 5 small shallots
  • 10g chopped lemon grass
  • 30g small garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons Thai shrimp paste


For the seasoning sauce:

  • 120ml water
  • 30ml fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Thai fermented soybean paste
  • 10ml thin soy sauce
  • A pinch of salt

For the pork:

  • 60ml vegetable oil
  • 450g ground pork
  • 1 ½ cherry tomatoes

For serving:

  • Various fresh veggies are sliced into pieces for dipping, including long beans, Thai eggplant, lettuce, and cucumbers.
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cooked sticky or jasmine rice

Tomato Chile Dip


  1. For the paste: Toast spur chillies in a dry wok, carbon steel, or cast iron pan over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the chillies are aromatic and have darkened to a deeper shade of red. Remove from heat, move the chillies to a plate to cool slightly, clean the wok or skillet, and put it back on the stove. When the chillies are cool enough to handle, cut off the stems and place them in a granite mortar and pestle. Set the plate and the mortar and pestle aside.
  2. In the meantime, add plum tomatoes to the now-empty wok or pan, and cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until browned all over. To cool, move the tomatoes to the plate that is now empty.
  3. Chilies should be ground into a coarse powder in a mortar and pestle for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the lemongrass, garlic and shallots then mash all to a coarse paste with some large pieces left. Add the charred plum tomatoes and gently mash for 2 minutes, or until the tomatoes are broken down and the paste is formed. Put the paste in a small bowl and set it aside.
  4. To make the seasoning sauce, put the water, fish sauce, soybean paste, soy sauce, and sugar in a small basin and whisk to blend. Put aside.
  5. For the pork, heat the oil to a sizzling state in a wok or a 3-quart saucier over medium-high heat. Add the chilli-tomato paste, and cook, stirring, for approximately 3 minutes, or until the paste is fragrant and becomes dark red. Add the pork, stir to incorporate, and cook for approximately 4 minutes, breaking up the meat as it cooks and scraping any parts that cling to the pan’s bottom.
  6. Cook until the cherry tomatoes begin to burst, 3 to 5 minutes. You may force the tomatoes to burst by pushing down on them with a wok spatula or wooden spoon, and you can choose whether to softly crush all of them or leave some whole for juicy bursts of tomato flavour in the finished dip. Bring to a boil over high heat with the spice sauce. Cook, stirring regularly, until the liquid is reduced to a saucy consistency and the oil begins to separate from the emulsion, about 8 minutes. Allow cooling at room temperature before serving or store it by keeping it frozen in the refrigerator for up to a week or a month.
  7. Transfer Nam prik ong to a serving dish and top with mixed raw and steamed veggies, hard-boiled eggs (optional), and rice.