In addition to the Extra-Crispy Fried Eggs, I also made the optional Nam Pla Prik recipe to accompany the Thai-Style Stir-Fried Ground Pork with Basil.
Like the pork with basil recipe, I’m familiar with nam pla prik. My usual approach is to slice some Thai chilies and put them in some fish sauce and let that sit while I make whatever I‘m cooking that evening. I figured I would do Lopez-Alt’s recipe with the optional garlic and palm sugar.
The biggest departure from this recipe and my usual approach is that in this recipe everything but the fish sauce and lime juice is pounded in a mortar and pestle. The result is a smoother sauce instead of fish sauce with chili and perhaps garlic slices floating in it.
I think the paste led to a more complex tasting sauce. Still plenty hot, still plenty salty, but there's a bit more nuance to it. Is it worth the time spent pulverizing? Maybe if I‘m feeling the time and energy to be a bit more special with it, but if I just want some nam pla prik without worrying about it, it’s hard to beat the ease of steeping sliced chilies in fish sauce.
I am cooking my way through J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s The Wok cookbook. Read more about it.