Shrimp with Roasted Chili Paste and Fresh Basil

Goong Paht Nahm Prik Pao


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Quick & Easy Thai

Quick & Easy Thai

By Nancie McDermott

Published 2004

  • About

It’s so simple and so good, you will soon be dreaming up other ways to enjoy this delicious stir-fried dish. Thais love this pairing of plump pink shrimp with rustic chili sauce and fresh herbs. Another classic version uses hoi lai, a delicate little clam with a thin, beige shell sporting a chocolate-colored herringbone design. In Thailand, market vendors offer “kits” to remind you how quick and easy this dish is: Dozens of tall clear-plastic sacks, each brimming with a kilo of clams topped off with a flourish of fresh basil and a red chee fah chili or two. I have made this with Manila clams, using an extra half-pound to allow for the weight of the shells. Try it with scallops, strips of beef, or chunks of chicken as well. Use fresh mint or cilantro if you do not have fresh basil, or a handful of thinly sliced green onion in lieu of mint.


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tablespoons roasted chili paste (nahm prik pao)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ¼ cup water or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup fresh Asian or Italian basil leaves or fresh mint leaves or fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • 2 long red fresh chee fah chilies, sliced crosswise into ovals, or a small handful of long, thin strips of sweet red (bell) pepper (optional)


Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or a wok over medium-high heat until a bit of garlic sizzles at once. Add the garlic and toss well until fragrant. Add the shrimp and toss until they turn pink.

Add the roasted chili paste, fish sauce, water, and sugar, and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing occasionally, until shrimp are cooked through and coated with sauce. Add the basil leaves, if using, and toss well. Turn out onto a serving platter, garnish with the red chilies, if using, and serve hot or warm.