Karen's nam jim

serves Makes approx. 260mls
difficulty moderate
prep time 15mins (approx.)
total time 50mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) garlic, chilli, shrimp, vinegar, fish sauce, celery seeds

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It keeps in the fridge for a month or so. When you use it, add a squeeze of lime and a handful of coriander leaves for a fresh boost.


3 pinches salt
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
12 chillies, either long skinny Thai ones or bullet chillies, sliced with seeds in
2 heaped tablespoons small, dried shrimp
350 grams caster sugar
320 ml sherry or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons celery seeds
3 tablespoons fish sauce


Using a large mortar and pestle, add the salt and garlic and pound to a paste. Add the chilli and pound to a rough paste, then tip into a small saucepan. Place the dried shrimp in the mortar and pound until they break down a little and become fluffy. Add them to the saucepan along with the sugar, vinegar and celery seeds.

Place the saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until slightly syrupy. Add the fish sauce and simmer for 1 minute then tip into a clean jar and allow to cool. You will end up with approximately 260 to 280 ml of sauce.

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