Luffa in Sweet Nam Prik Pao Sauce

Luffa, or Thai okra, is like a squash but becomes a super creamy texture once cooked. This sweet Thai chili sauce starts with a tamarind water and palm sugar syrup—you can use them in various Thai or Southeast Asian dishes, in addition to the nam prik. The nam prik sauce will hold in refrigerator for a long time, so experiment with other dishes. How much sauce versus luffa is like dressing a salad—really a personal preference, so have fun.

Photography By Shell Royster | October 10, 2018

Ingredients

Sweet Nam Prik Sauce
  • 14 ounces tamarind
  • 5½ cups water, divided
  • 10 ounces palm sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, divided
  • 4 shallots, divided
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • ¼ cup dried shrimp
  • ¼ cup Megachef fish sauce
  • ⅛ cup bottled white vinegar
  • Lime leaves (optional)
  • ⅛–¼ cup chili powder
luffa
  • 2 pieces of luffa, cut in half and then into small 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Salt

Instructions

For the sauce:

Tamarind Water: Place tamarind and 5 cups water in a blender and blend on high to create tamarind water. Strain so you have a thick paste.

Palm Sugar Syrup: Place palm sugar in a pan with ½ cup water and create simple syrup by slowly heating until sugar is fully dissolved, thickens and becomes a rich caramel color

Prepare for Sauce: Peel and slice garlic and shallot on a mandolin to equal cup garlic and ½ cup shallot.

Heat 2 cups canola oil in a large frying pan to 300°. Separately fry, cup garlic, ¼ cup shallot and dried shrimp. Remove each ingredient before adding the next and set each on paper towels to drain.

For Garnish: Turn heat down to 275° and fry remaining ¼cup shallot until light brown. Remove from oil and lightly salt.

For Sweet Chili Nam Prik Sauce: Blend ½ cup tamarind water, ¼ cup fish sauce, ¼ cup palm sugar syrup, all your fried garlic, shallot and shrimp, cup white vinegar and 2 lime leaves with chili powder to taste.

For the Luffa:

Cook luffa  in a hot dry pan, turn fan out, it needs to get smoky. Once seared, add 1 tablespoon of canola oil and a pinch of salt. Cook for 1 minute more on slightly lower heat until loofah is creamy and soft but not falling apart.

Mix with sweet chili nam prik, garnish with fried shallots and serve.

Chef tip: If you don’t own a mandolin, search for “Benringer” on Amazon and buy it;  it’s worth the investment!

Recipe by Chef Josh Walker of Xiao Bao Biscuit and Tu

Ingredients

Sweet Nam Prik Sauce
  • 14 ounces tamarind
  • 5½ cups water, divided
  • 10 ounces palm sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, divided
  • 4 shallots, divided
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • ¼ cup dried shrimp
  • ¼ cup Megachef fish sauce
  • ⅛ cup bottled white vinegar
  • Lime leaves (optional)
  • ⅛–¼ cup chili powder
luffa
  • 2 pieces of luffa, cut in half and then into small 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Salt

The Background of Luffa