- 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
- 2 pieces of luffa, cut in half and then into small 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
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 ⅛ cup garlic and ½ cup shallot.
Heat 2 cups canola oil in a large frying pan to 300°. Separately fry, ⅛ 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, ⅛ 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