A couple weeks ago, I went with my wife and her family on a little family vacation.
On our way to a beach house in Pattaya, we stopped at a seafood market and bought a bunch of seafood - crab, shellfish, shrimp, fish etc.
At the house, we all started grilling and boiling the seafood (everything just plain), and my mother in law made a simple (yet extremely flavorful) Thai seafood sauce, known in Thai as nam jim seafood (น้ำจิ้มซีฟู้ด).
This is a very common Thai way to eat seafood, and it's a way I eat seafood frequently in Thailand.
But during our meal this time, I started thinking:
This meal is so good and so simple, and as long as you can get fresh seafood, you can have this type of authentic Thai seafood meal experience anywhere you are in the world.
The ingredients are very straight forward and should not be difficult to find in any major city, and yet the taste is very Thai.
All you have to do is boil or grill your favorite type of seafood (shrimp, crab, shellfish etc.), then make Thai seafood sauce, then dip your seafood into the sauce. Pretty simple, right!?
Now here's the recipe for the sauce:
Thai seafood sauce recipe (น้ำจิ้มซีฟู้ด)
20 Thai bird chilies (พริกขี้หนูสวน)
15 cloves of garlic (กระเทียม)
6 tablespoons lime juice (น้ำมะนาว)
3 tablespoons water (น้ำเปล่า)
2 tablespoons fish sauce (น้ำปลา), alternatively use only salt or some salt and some fish sauce if you don't like the fishy sauce flavor - some Thais prefer using only salt in their seafood sauce.
½ teaspoon of salt for pounding the chilies and garlic (เกลือ)
1 tablespoon table sugar or palm sugar (น้ำตาล) - or you can use much less like I prefer
Add the bird chilies and peeled cloves of garlic into a mortar and pestle. Toss in ½ teaspoon of salt, and start pounding until coarse, making sure all the oils are released (should take 5 - 10 mins). Alternatively, blend or use a food processor or even just mince if you need to, but grinding by hand is the best method.
Add the crushed chilies and garlic to a bowl, then add the lime juice, water, fish sauce (or salt), and sugar, and mix thoroughly.
Start adding the ingredients especially the fish sauce and sugar gradually, and taste test and add more as needed.
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