Nam prik ong is a life-changing, spicy Thai tomato and pork stir-fry. Its tantalizing smells of fried shallots, Thai dried chili and garlic, and its sounds of ground pork sizzling in the wok and popping cherry tomatoes, always brings me back like a time machine to Thai Hubby’s grandma’s house in Sukhothai, Thailand.
At dinner time, in the living room we would roll out Grandma’s worn straw mat on their painted red concrete floor that somehow was always spotless.
Then as those heart-warming smells of fried garlic and shallots wafted in, we would set down a rattling random assortment of colorful plastic plates in a pile, along with well-used forks and spoons.
From her “kitchen” outside, which was really just a burner set up on the floor of the back porch with glass bottles of Thai sauces surrounding it, she would bring out a plate full of steamed cabbage, long beans and fried pork rinds with a small bowl of nam prik ong in the center of it.
Then we would sit around, dipping our veggies in the nam prik ong, savoring its spicy, sweet flavor while watching Grandma’s favorite Thai or Korean soap operas as a large fan lazily spun next to us.
The simple, fresh meal, and relaxing time with her made us forget about the sweat oozing out our pores in her non-A/C house.
It was magical.
Nam prik ong is one of Thai Hubby’s favorite Thai recipes that his grandma makes.
Talk about pressure for me!
Whenever I make it, it’s like we catch a glimpse of her, and it feels like her presence fills the room a bit even though it’s been so long since we’ve gone from two kids to four kids since our last trip there.
In Thailand, they don’t really have Asian lettuce wraps like you’d find a P.F. Changs, so Thai-Style lettuce wraps are a fun fusion. Nam prik ong is one of my favorite ways to create a Thai version of a lettuce wrap or my larb lettuce wraps, are another fun fav too of course!
You can eat nam prik ong as Asian lettuce wraps, or use it as a dip for chips, and crackers, but use pork skins if you want to eat it Thai-style!
What dish while you are cooking it or eating it makes you go in a time machine?? I’d love to hear!
And here is the fun video Dom, and I love about how to make nam prik ong:Print
Nam prik ong, a life-changing, spicy, sweet, sour pork and tomato Thai stir-fry, perfect for filling up your lettuce wraps, plus it’s authentic recipe from my Thai grandma’s kitchen!
- 3 shallots, diced, divided
- 12 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped, divided
- 2–5 dried Thai chilies, depending on spice preference (or you can leave them out and it’s still amazing)
- 3 tbsp. cooking oil
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 c. baby tomatoes, quartered
- 2 tbsp. tamarind paste
- 1 tbsp. fish sauce, to taste
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar or palm sugar, to taste
- 2 tsp. Thai Shrimp Paste(optional)
- Soak the Thai chilies in warm water for at least 30 minutes to soften them up before their pounding.
- Add soaked Thai chilies, half of the shallots and half of the garlic to your mortar and pestle. Pound until smooth. *If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a food processor. It won’t have the same authentic flavor, but still be delicious!
- Add 3 tbsp. of cooking oil to a wok or large pan.
- Add the reserved garlic and shallots to the cold pan. Stir-fry until brown and crisp. Keep stirring it while it fries and once it starts to turn golden, turn off the pan and keep stirring. It can quickly go from brown to burnt if you don’t keep your eye on it.
- Remove the fried garlic and shallots and place in a small bowl, but keep the garlic and shallot infused oil in the pan.
- Now add the pounded chilies, garlic and shallots and stir-fry for a few minutes until fragrant.
- Then add ground pork and combine well with chilie mixture.
- When the pork has cooked a little, add the tomatoes.
- Crush the tomatoes with the back of your spatula to help them combine with the pork mixture.
- Stir until pork is cooked through and combined well with the tomatoes.
- Then add tamarind, fish sauce, sugar, shrimp paste, fried shallots and garlic, and mix it up. We like ours more sweet and sour with a slight salty taste.
- You can serve it with lettuce wraps, cabbage, green beans, pork skins, or if you want to make it more fusion, serve it with chips, crackers or pita bread!
It’s best to use sweet and sour baby tomatoes, but since I can’t find those in our grocery store, we just use regular baby tomatoes and add in tamarind paste to make it sour.
Dom’s grandma always puts Thai Shrimp Paste in hers, but if you can’t find it, no worries! I still love it without it too.
If I’m making this for others who can’t handle the spicy heat, I fry the Thai dried chilies separately. Then whoever wants one can break it up and put in their own serving, or take little bites of it while eating their serving.
Check out the recipe video in my @thaifoodie Instagram Story Highlights under Thai Stir-frys!
- Category: Thai Food
- Method: Stir-Fry
- Cuisine: Thai
- Serving Size: 2-3
Keywords: nam prik ong, thai stir-fry, thai lettuce wraps, lettuce wraps. thai recipe, thai pork recipe