Thai Kitchen Brand Thai Roasted Chili Paste

This little food item has been sitting in my cupboard for quite a while waiting to be used but, this past weekend, I finally got around to giving it a try. In one sense, I was a little disappointed in that, despite being called a ‘chili’ paste, there was barely any heat to it at all. That being said, though, it did have other compensating qualities that still make it quite useful…

The product is indeed from Thailand, but the name, as I have indicated, is a bit misleading. Chili is listed as an ingredient, but it is rather far down the list, meaning it is not a major component, and sugar, somewhat tellingly, is number one on the list. This is, as a consequence, quite a sweet condiment indeed.

What makes the difference here, is the inclusion of what the ingredient list calls ‘shrimp flour’. I rather think this is the same ‘food term’ usage as the Chinese 蝦米, referring to a type of small dried shrimp, as the product here contains small, chewy pieces of what seems very like reconstituted dried shrimp. This very much comes through in the taste so, while I was disappointed in the lack of ‘heat’, I discovered that the paste was very much like a fairly decent Chinese XO Sauce, except at a fraction of the cost…

 

To test the product, I did a stir fry of beef with scallion and yellow bell pepper. I also added some dried Thai red chili to add the heat that probably should have been there already. Anyway, the result was very nice … not what I would have expected, perhaps, but still good. I would think the paste would make a nice condiment in many places where XO Sauce would be used…

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