Shrimp Paste Relish with Lime Rind (น้ำพริกผิวมะนาว) and a Little Ghost Tale
Recipe type: Condiment
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Makes a generous ⅓ cup
  • 2-3 limes
  • 2 tablespoons dried shrimp
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2-3 (fewer of less depending on your taste) fresh Thai bird's eye chilies
  • 2 teaspoons packed Thai shrimp paste
  • 2 teaspoons packed grated palm sugar or 1 teaspoon packed light or brown sugar
  • Some fish sauce (just in case; you may not need it at all)
  1. Zest 2 limes, being careful to avoid the white pith. Alternatively, you can peel the lime rind with a vegetable peeler or paring knife into thin strips, avoiding the white pith, then with the strips arranged into stacks of 3-4, cut crosswise into thin slices. Set the lime zest aside.
  2. Juice the 2 limes which you've just zested. You need 2½ tablespoons of juice. If you don't get this amount out of the 2 limes, get more from the 3rd lime.
  3. In a mortar or a small chopper, grind the dried shrimp, garlic, chilies, shrimp paste, and sugar until no chunks larger than a match head remain.
  4. Transfer the paste to a small bowl. Stir in the lime juice and zest. Taste it. If you're not used to Thai shrimp paste relish, expect the flavor to be very strong for you. Instead of tasting the relish by taking in a spoonful of it, it's best to do so by dipping a spoon into it and dabbing just the little bit that clings to the spoon on the tip of your tongue. The relish should be equally salty and sour with just a faint hint of sweetness -- at least that's how I like it.
  5. Serve with rice, steamed and fresh vegetable crudités, and grilled, steamed, or fried fish (prepared with as little seasoning as possible).
  6. The relish can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for 1 week or frozen for 6 months.
Recipe by SheSimmers at