I got the last half kilo of fresh prawns from the fish store last Friday for the purpose of making Koong Chae Nam Pa (Raw Prawns with Spicy Fish Sauce). I’ve been having a craving for it since last Monday. The craving kept getting stronger after looking at the photos of the dish at Kung Pao T2 in Vientiane from my trip to Laos in November of last year.
Koong Chae Nam Pa is quite popular in Laos and my relatives (the males) usually eat it with their favorite beer, which is no other than BeerLao. It’s the number two dish for them following Dancing Shrimps dish. Most restaurants in Laos serve Koong Chae Nam Pa with sliced bitter gourd and cabbage. I didn’t have any bitter gourd or cabbage in the fridge so shredded carrot was the next best thing. I almost used mostly green chili peppers because I ran out of the red ones and only had one red chili pepper left.
Even though I ate Koong Chae Nam Pa raw in Laos, I was hesitant at first and blanched the first batch of the shrimps for a few seconds. The second round was as raw as they came home from the fish store.
It’s quite simple to make the spicy fish sauce. I don’t use measuring tools when cooking (unless I’m baking something) and it’s a trial and error method with a bit of this and a bit of that. I grounded up the ingredients (garlic, sugar, chili peppers) using Kok and Sark (mortar and pestle) and mixed in fish sauce and lime juice, then added chopped coriander to the dressing before serving.