This paste is easy to make and once you have a taste for it, addiction soon follows. Chilli paste is used in such dishes as Thai tom yum, and is cooked with coconut cream and coconut milk as a sauce for seafood. It also makes a delicious salad dressing. Timing is everything here. If the ingredients are cooked too long, they burn. If they aren’t cooked long enough, the sauce becomes insipid. Remember, fortune favours the brave!


  • 250 g tamarind pulp

  • 375 ml Water

  • 50 g Dried Shrimp pulsed quickly in blender

  • 375 g Spanish Onions sliced

  • 325 g Garlic

  • 500 ml Peanut Oil

  • 2 tablespoons Chilli powder

  • 250 g Palm Sugar

  • 125 ml Fish sauce


  • 1.

    Mix the tamarind pulp well with the warmed water, then pass through a strainer and retain the water.

  • 2.

    In a wok, heat the peanut oil until just smoking. Fry off the onion, garlic and dried shrimp separately.

  • 3.

    Put all ingredients back into the wok, add the palm sugar and caramelise.

  • 4.

    Add the fish sauce, chilli powder and tamarind water, and boil for 30 seconds.

  • 5.

    Check seasoning.

  • 6.

    Pour the paste into a blender and process until smooth.

  • 7.

    This recipe makes a lot of chilli paste. It will store well in a jar, under a layer of oil.

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