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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Terrorists, or just lunch?

Earlier this week, part of London was evacuated because of what was initially thought to be a possible chemical attack or toxic leak. A cloud of cough-inducing smoke hung over Soho.

Firefighters went in, wearing special apparatus, to try to track down the source.

Reports the Times of London: "They emerged from the smoke carrying a huge cooking pot containing about 9lb of smouldering dried chillies.

"The firefighters had smashed down the door of the Thai Cottage restaurant in D'Arblay Street and seized the extra-hot bird's eye chillies which had been left dry-frying. They were being prepared as part of a six-month batch of nam prik pao, a super-hot Thai dip to accompany prawn crackers."

No one was injured.

In a hilarious touch, at the end of the Times of London story, the paper's website ran a recipe for nam prik pao.

Here it is. If the firefighters come calling, don't blame me.

Nam prik pao

4 tbsp oil; 3 tbsp chopped garlic; 3 tbsp chopped shallots; 3 tbsp chopped dried red chillies; 1 tbsp fermented shrimp paste; 1 tbsp fish sauce; 2 tsp palm sugar

Heat the oil, add the garlic and shallots and fry briefly. Remove from oil and set aside. Add chillies and fry until they start to change colour. Remove and set aside. In a pestle and mortar, pound the shrimp paste, add the chillies, garlic and shallots. Over a low heat return all the ingredients to the oil, and fold into a uniform paste. The resulting thick, slightly oily red/black sauce will keep almost indefinitely. If you wish you can add more fish sauce and/or sugar to get the flavour you want.


"That's hot."

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