This is a common store-bought condiment, usually labeled “Chili Paste in Soya Bean Oil or Roasted Red Chili Paste in Oil.” I consider it a sort of chili jam with its deep roasted flavor, sweet and salty taste, and slightly pungent dried shrimp aroma. With it, you can create deeply flavored stir-fries in a snap. It’s often used a foundation for hot and sour soup, and lends its deep red color to Thai salads. Young people can be caught spreading on white bread as part of a sandwich. I am partial to it with sliced cucumbers!
© 2008 Robert Danhi. All rights reserved.