Nam Prik Ong Cucumber Appetizer

These chiles will add a deep, nutty flavor to dishes and are great to use in salsas and sauces. It is a medium-hot chile that is good in soups, stews, sauces and sausage.

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1/2 teaspoon salt
10 small dried chile peppers
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped garlic, divided
1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass
1 teaspoon yellow bean sauce
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup ground pork
1 teaspoon thin soy sauce
1 chilled cucumber, sliced
Fried lotus root pieces and fried basil leaves


Rehydrate the small dried chiles in water for 10-20 minutes. Once they are soft, chop each chili into 4-5 pieces to make it easier to grind them later. Rinse the yellow bean sauce with water as well to remove the salinity.

Using a mortar and pestle, make the paste. First add salt and the rehydrated chiles and pound until somewhat smooth. Then add the shallots, lemongrass, and half of the garlic and pound again. Next add the rinsed beans and tomatoes and smash until most of the tomatoes are a paste, but a few are still have a recognizeable shape.

Heat 1-2 teaspoons of canola oil over medium-high heat. Saute the other half of the chopped garlic until almost golden brown, then add the chili/tomato paste you just made. Cook this for 2-3 minutes and then add the ground pork. Cook until the meat is done and do a taste-test. If it needs a little more salt, add a teaspoon of thin soy sauce.

Place a spoonful of this dip (while still warm) on a slice of cool cucumber. Garnish with a quarter of a fried lotus root chip and a fried basil leaf for a little extra flair.