A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.

How To Make: Nam Phrik Kapi

Posted date:  March 16, 2006

Nam phrik are a virtually endless varity of Thai spicy “salsas”. They are typically eaten with rice and raw or par-boiled vegetables, and tend to be based around chillies. Nam phrik kapi, a “dip” based on shrimp paste is one of the easiest Thai recipes of all to make. These are old pics I’ve dug up to contribute to this thread at eGullet, so I don’t have the step-by-step pics you would normally expect to see here.

Nam Phrik Kapi with Fresh and Fried Vegetables
Nam Phrik Kapi is probably the most well known nam phrik in Thailand. As the name suggests, it is made with kapi, a salted and fermented paste of fine shrimp known as khoei, and is always served with fresh and/or parboiled vegetables, as well as egg-battered deep-fried vegetables, as described below. The amount of ingredients listed below for the nam phrik are largely for reference; a Thai chef would virtually never use measuring instruments to cook, and a dish is usually made to taste, keeping in mind a desired balance of the four tastes: sour, spicy, salty and sweet.

3+ phrik khii nuu (very small Thai chillies)
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon sugar
1 squeezed lime (about 1 tablespoon of juice)
1/4 cup Kapi (Thai shrimp paste)
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons makheua phuang (pea-sized Thai eggplant)

4 eggs
1 Chinese or Japanese eggplant, sliced into 1 cm thick rounds and put in a bowl of water mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar to prevent browning
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 bunch of cha om (a pungent vegetable sometimes available frozen in Thai grocery stores)

An assortment of fresh Thai vegetables, such as eggplant, cabbage, carrot, wing bean, long bean, all cut into long bite-size pieces

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the phrik khii nuu with the garlic until a rough paste is formed. Add the sugar and the lime juice and grind together. Add the shrimp paste and continue grinding until a paste forms. Add water. If the mixture is still too thick, add additional water, a teaspoonful at a time (nam phrik kapi should have the consistency of a slightly watery paste). Taste and add more chilies, lime or sugar, to taste. Add the makheua phuang, breaking slightly, but not grinding, with the pestle. Put nam phrik kapi in a serving bowl.

Beat eggs with a few drops of fish sauce or a pinch of salt, divide into two bowls and set aside. Drain eggplant and mix thoroughly with one of the bowls of egg. Heat cooking oil in a wok and taking two or three slices at a time, fry the eggplant in oil on both sides until crispy. Set on paper towels to drain. Remove the tender cha om leaves and blend with the eggs. Fry mixture in hot oil as a thick omelet or frittata, turning over to cook on both sides. Drain on a paper towel until cool then slice into bite-sized squares.

Arrange the fresh and fried vegetables on a plate and serve with rice and bowl of nam phrik kapi.

5 Comments for How To Make: Nam Phrik Kapi

Hi Austin…

Nice blog and great pictures too. I hope you can find an authentic recipe for Nam Prik Pao and publish it on your blog.


Thanks a lot! I’ve actually never made nam phrik phao myself, but I’m sure I have a recipe in one of my Thai cookbooks, so I’ll look into it!



I accpet that you are really good for the detailed info you posted. I like Nam phrik kapi too. However, once I cooked it, I ate too much and gain a lot of weight fast beacuse I like to have it with a lot of steam rice.

One comment, I believe that in Nam phrik kapi, we use palm sugar instead of regular sugar. You may try and see if it makes the difference for you. Try to find “sort of” pure palm sugar. That will work.

I would like to come here again. It sounds god to me, and there’s a lot of interesting information here

Hi! Could you tell me about the food in your country that put Kapi?


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