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Prik Nam Som (Thai Chili Vinegar Sauce)

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Prik nam som, everyone’s favorite fiery and tangy Thai chili vinegar sauce found at every street food stall. It’s the best table condiment to brighten up noodle soups, noodle dishes, and stir-fries.

Top view of prik nam som, Thai chili vinegar sauce, with red and green chilies on a banana leaf.

Also check out prik nam pla, a fish sauce based condiment that be drizzled over just about anything! These Thai chili flakes are perfect to add heat to your dishes instantly.

What is prik nam som

Prik nam som is a traditional Thai condiment made from long green or red Thai chilies and vinegar. Medium in spiciness, this sauce is ideal for enhancing the flavor of noodles, rice dishes, and soups.

Thai chili vinegar sauce

This Thai vinegar with chilies condiment (พริกน้ำส้ม) is one of my favorite dipping sauces to complement authentic Thai food.

I love to drizzle it on my pad see ew noodles, lad na, or use it to give my khao tom (Thai rice soup) and noodle soups more tang.

It’s so easy to make, perfect for when you need to add some extra flavor quickly.

Thai chili vinegar sauce, prik nam som, in a clear jar, surrounded by tropical flowers.

It’s made with a base of medium-spicy red and green Thai chilies, often Thai prik chi fa. You can use serrano or jalapeño if that’s what you got, they’ll do the trick too! I like to slice the chilies into thin slices, but they can be mixed as well.

A sprinkle of salt makes it even better, and some lukewarm water not only balances out the tang but also extends the shelf life.

My mom says the water is a must if you don’t want your Thai pickled chilies sauce to be overwhelmingly sour.

Condiments in Thailand

In Thailand, it’s common to spot an array of condiments on your table at street food stalls and noodle soup shops.

They’re perfect for adding a sour flavor to your noodle soups and street food dishes like pad mee, a classic noodle stir-fry.

Some common ones prik nam pla, red pepper flakes, crushed roasted peanuts, this prik nam som, and often a simple bottle of fish sauce, soy sauce, and Maggi seasoning sauce.

5 Reasons to try this recipe

  • Versatile chili sauce with vinegar: This sauce doubles as a salad dressing, prik nam som is so versatile!
  • It lasts a long time: Store it in a glass jar, and it’ll last you a long time. Make a big batch for later use, you won’t regret it.
  • Tangy and spicy: A perfect flavor balance, and easy to adjust to your taste.
  • Street food vibe: Bring back those memories of your travels to Thailand with this staple from street food stalls. It’s every Thai person’s favorite chili condiment, and now you get to make it at home.
  • Quick and easy: This recipe is ideal for every home cook. It’s simple cooking with big flavor.

Ingredients for Thai chilies pickled in vinegar recipe

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Bird's eye view of recipe ingredients display with vibrant green and red chilies, salt, vinegar, and water on a banana leaf background, decorated with bright flowers.
  • Large chilies – Use prik chi fa if available. Jalapeños or serrano peppers are a decent substitute.
  • White vinegar – White vinegar bring a sharp, neutral acidic flavor.
  • Water – Water mellows out the intense flavors, ensuring your nam som prik dong is not too spicy or too sour.
  • Salt – Draws out the natural flavors of the other ingredients.

How to make chili sauce with vinegar

Slice the chilies

Sliced red and green chilies on a wooden background.

Slice the long red and green chilies into thin slices.

Make the chili vinegar sauce

Top-down view of a clear cup with red and green chili slices in vinegar on a banana leaf background.

1. Transfer the sliced chilies to a mixing bowl.

2. Add vinegar, lukewarm water, and salt. Stir to combine.

Recipe tips and tricks

  • Use fresh ingredients: For a bright, flavorful sauce, go for fresh chilies.
  • Taste and adjust: As you mix, taste and adjust. For a tangier condiment, add a bit more vinegar. Want it less spicy? Remove some chili seeds.
  • Experiment: If you want a different flavor, you can experiment with different types of vinegar. Rice vinegar can add a mild and slightly sweet note.
  • Large batch: Simply double this recipe, and you’ll have enough prik nam som to last you a while!
  • Safety first: Use plastic gloves when handling the chilies, and wash your hands after. Avoid touching your eyes or face, trust me!

Kitchen tools

  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Glass jar: A glass jar like this mason jar with an airtight lid is perfect for food storage.

How to serve Thai pickled chilies

Level up Thai dishes or your favorite food with a generous splash of prik nam som.

You can use this staple condiment in fried rice, noodle soups, noodle stir-fries, and many more.

Here are some of my recipes to use with Thai chili vinegar sauce:

  • Vegetarian Thai fried rice: Perfect for vegetarians, with healthy vegetables like carrots, onions, and green onions.
  • Sen mee pad see ew: A classic variation on pad see ew, with rice vermicelli noodles and dark soy sauce.
  • Pad kra pao: This classic Thai dish is commonly enhanced with prik nam pla, but you can use this vinegar chili sauce with almost any stir-fry dish.

How to store

Store in a cool, dark spot, in a glass jar. Avoid using plastic containers, as vinegar can react with plastic, potentially leading to health concerns.

Did you know?

In Thai, the word “prik” means chili, and “nam som” translates to vinegar. The name of this sauce breaks down to “chili in vinegar”.

Frequently asked questions

How spicy is prik nam som?

Depending on the types of chilies used, it’s a balanced sauce of tang and heat, being moderate in terms of spiciness

My sauce is too sour!

It could be the type or brand of vinegar used. You can balance it out be adding a bit more water or even a sprinkle of white sugar.

Can I add other ingredients?

Totally. You can experiment with garlic, lime juice, and sugar.

How do I reduce the spiciness?

If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can remove the seeds before making the sauce. Alternatively, you can use a mild type of chili pepper.

More Thai sauces you’ll love

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Prik Nam Som (Thai Chili Vinegar Sauce)

Top view of prik nam som, Thai chili vinegar sauce, with red and green chilies on a banana leaf.
Prik nam som is a spicy Thai condiment crafted from long green or red Thai chilies and vinegar. Medium in spiciness, this sauce can be used to spice up noodle dishes, rice dishes, soups, and much more.
Praew
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Dipping sauce
Serving Size 1

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3.5 ounces large chilies green & red prik chi fa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water

Instructions

  • Slice the long red and green chilies into thin slices.
  • Transfer the sliced chilies to a mixing bowl.
  • Add vinegar, lukewarm water, and salt. Stir to combine.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Use prik chi fa if available. Jalapeños or serrano peppers are a decent substitute.

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