Nam Tok at Home


I went a little Nam Tok/Nahm Tok/Nahm Dtok mad last week. After a while it felt like the ladies at Target Thai were having a little chuckle at me when we’d turn up again for dinner and I’d ask for another one. As cheap and delicious as theirs is ($10), I thought this obsession couldn’t continue without having a go at it myself. There are so many versions about the place, I started looking online, then consulted this Thai Food book from David Thompson and decided to base mine around that. For men looking for an easy night in the kitchen that won’t go much further than grilling a piece of meat, this requires little other than a bit of chopping and mixing some liquids, and perhaps doing some rice in the microwave. If your lady friend has a grateful appetite like Mrs P, she’ll love this one.


150 – 200g beef rump

4 red shallots, thinly sliced

1 handful of coriander

1 tablespoon ground toasted rice (which is just rice toasted like you would toast pinenuts or pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan then ground in a mortar and pestle)

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

1/2 a carrot, thinly sliced (or use one of those peelers with teeth that will pull out thin strips like mine does)


pinch of white sugar

3 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons fish sauce

large pinch of chilli powder or more (I went for more) to taste

Mix all the dressing elements together. Put them all in a bowl or glass together, use a spoon, and you’re done. Easy right? Give it a little taste test. If it tastes hot and limey and a little unpleasantly sour, to the point where you’re a little unsure whether I’ve played some kind of practical joke on you with this post, then it’s perfect.

Grill the meat. As you can see in these photos we like our beef pretty rare, but cook yours how you like. Give it some resting time while you chop up the rest of the ingredients. Put the meat, vegetables and the herbs in a bowl. Pour over the dressing then sprinkle with the toasted rice. Usually when I get this from a restaurant they give it to me with some rice, and I quite like it that way too.


The flavours all come together wonderfully. They’re strong and fresh, and the heat settles in the stomach and purrs like a bundled up and contented cat. At least that’s what the spice does for me. I’ve once again gone mad, but at least when I turn up for some more this time tomorrow, I’ll just be greeted by me having a little chuckle at myself.

16 thoughts on “Nam Tok at Home

  1. Haha, ‘contented cat’!! I love your descriptions Mr P!!! This dish looks gorgeous… so fresh and healthy, yet satisfying with the full flavours and the heat of chilli. I’ve been steering clear of Asian food at home recently (except Japanese. My husband and I adore Japanese food) but this recipe makes me want to dive back into the flavour pot again!!

    1. Japanese food is right up there for me too, reminds me so much of my youth, but I find it so hard to happy with the results at home. Was there any reason for you steering clear, or was it just happenstance?

      1. Um… mostly as my husband’s on a complete health kick at the moment. I don’t like Asian food unless I cook it properly. I’ve made some Thai and Vietnamese salads but Chinese food often requires a lot of frying (with either oil or lard) and Indian doesn’t taste the same without ghee. You can’t make naan without ghee, in my opinion! This salad would pass the test though. I’d definitely make this!

    1. There’s something about spicy thai food that makes me feel like that every time when it’s done right. Probably doesn’t hurt that I’m normally sitting on the couch with the cats at that moment.

  2. As usual, excellent writing and beautiful photos. Living with a vegetarian I get maybe one shot each week to cook a dish with real meat (not that I’m complaining, I love tofu etc…) and this may be it this week. Although we have a big holiday coming up here in the USof A – Monday is Memorial Day. I think I am obligated to do burgers (hah! Yeah, that’s the ticket) + maybe some sausages. Otherwise, they could deport me.

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