Now, there are variations of this beautiful Jaew but I make mine based on what I tasted at least a hundred times and what I learned from my “mae baan” (แม่บ้าน) during those years in BKK. I generally put a lot more rice powder in than most. I like it a little nuttier and, well, I’m a little nutty. It helps support the acidic, sugary, and salty umami flavor.
I like to toast my red pepper flakes as it imparts this charred flavor into the sauce.
I probably would have never done this is if I had not seen Som (my “mae baan”) do it one afternoon. I walked in from walking my dogs and started coughing while the dogs started sneezing. Yup, Som was cooking again.
What we end up with is this robust flavor profile that is relatively simple to make. A proper Jaew will delight and make that tongue dance a bit. And without further ado…
- 1 tbl finely chopped coriander
- 1 tbl minced pink shallots
- ½ teaspoon minced or grated galangal (use a microplane)
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 teaspoon grated palm sugar
- 2 tsp of roasted red pepper flakes
- 2 tbl of freshly toasted rice powder – Khao Khua (ข้าวคั่ว)
Culinary note: I do not partake in substitutions with my Thai dishes. If you can’t find palm sugar, shallots or won’t go through the rice toasting process, what’s the point of making it?
Making This Jaew Recipe Your Own
This is a great time to taste it. The Jaew should be nutty but have very distinct sour and slightly salty flavor. I like it more on the sour side since this is the quintessential sauce for a semi-sweet Kor Moo Yang (grilled pork). This is not the end-all-be-all Jaew recipe. Let your tongue guide you. Add in or add out what you want but for newcomers to the Thai arena, this recipe is definitely a safe bet.
BTW- I ended up giving Som my motorscooter for next to nothing. I enjoyed all her lessons and hope she is scooting around spreading the positivity.