Jitlada’s chef shares her family recipe for nam prik goong

Nam Prik Goong
Lettuce leaves, bitter melon, cucumber and green beans are nice for dipping.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Funky, salty and shrimpy, this dipping sauce comes from Jazz Singsanong of Jitlada restaurant. It’s meant for serving with cool, raw vegetables but works as a condiment for noodles, rice or other Thai dishes too. She made a batch for columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson in the first episode of the Times video series “Off Menu.” The recipe, as Singsanong makes it, turns out a pretty fiery dip; use fewer chiles for a milder option. You can find shrimp paste, Thai chiles and palm sugar at southeast Asian markets like LAX-C.

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Nam Prik Goong

Makes about 1 cup



  • 6 ounces shrimp paste
  • ½ cup cooked shrimp, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¼ cup Thai chiles, stemmed
  • ¼ cup softened palm sugar or packed brown sugar
  • ¼ to ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Crudites, for serving


  1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-low heat. Wrap the shrimp paste in a double layer of foil and enclose the packet. Grill the foil packet for 2 minutes; the paste should be very fragrant. Let cool, then unwrap.
  2. While the shrimp paste cools, pound the shrimp, garlic and chiles in a mortar with a pestle until smashed into tiny bits. Or you can pulse the ingredients in a food processor. Add the palm sugar and shrimp paste and continue pounding or pulsing to form a coarse purée. Add ¼ cup lemon juice and stir or pulse until incorporated. Taste and add up to ¼ cup more lemon juice to taste.
  3. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with crudites.