Sweet, spicy, sour, and salty all at once, this syrupy dipping sauce is the essential companion to certain dishes, such as Thai fish cakes. Over the years some of my students have helped me as much as I have taught them. Fah Vorarittinapap is one of them. Not only has she provided me a place to cook at her Lemongrass Café Restaurant in Houston, but she also introduced me to her family in Thailand. They taught me that this fundamental condiment is referred to as “grilled chicken sauce,” underscoring the association of this sauce with the grilled chicken of Northeast Thailand. Gai is the transliteration of the Thai word for chicken, it is pronounced as “guy,” the name “Nahm Jim Gai” roughly translates as “chili sauce for chicken.”
© 2008 Robert Danhi. All rights reserved.