- 2 Tbsp. fermented shrimp paste
- 3 small shallots
- 1 head garlic, papery skins removed and separated into individual cloves
- 20–30 tiny Thai bird’s eye chilies, or to your taste
- 20 pea eggplant (optional but strongly recommended)
- ½ Tbsp. palm sugar
- 3–5 Tbsp. lime juice (start with 3 and keep taste testing)
- The first step is to take 2 Tbsp. of shrimp paste, flatten it out into a little patty, and grill it over high heat charcoal. You should immediately start to smell the aroma of the shrimp paste. Allow the shrimp paste to just sizzle for about a minute on either side, then remove from the grill.
- We then have to roast the chillies, garlic and whole shallots until the vegetables are soft or the skins just start to turn black. Once roasted, peel the shallots and garlic, and rip off the stems of the Thai bird’s eye chilies.
- In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, shallots, and chilies for about 10 minutes until you get a nice semi-smooth oily paste.
- Add about 10 pea eggplant to the mortar, and gently crush them, just to release the seeds.
- Then add the shrimp paste and palm sugar to the mortar, and pound and mix simultaneously for about a minute until the mixture is even.
- Then add about 3 Tbsp. lime juice to start and mix everything together, still in the mortar, with a spoon.
- Now to taste test. It should be like a sauce in texture, and should be salty, sour, and spicy, with only a faint hint of sweetness. Add more lime juice or chilies as needed to balance the taste.
- Once finished, garnish with whole Thai bird’s eye chilies and more pea eggplant. Serve with fried fish, boiled vegetables or egg crepes.