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Jeow Bong Recipe (Lao Chili Paste)

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This jeow bong recipe is the ultimate guide to making an authentic Lao chili paste that’s perfect for your spicy cravings! This authentic, fiery dipping sauce pairs perfectly with everything from sticky rice and vegetables to beef jerky and stir-fries. It’s the best thing you’ll try this week, pinky promise!

Hand scooping sticky rice with spicy jeow bong, a Lao chili paste, accompanied by fresh vegetables and beef jerky.

If you’re as obsessed with Lao dipping sauces as I am, you’ve got to check out some of my other recipes: The versatile jeow mak len, my easy jeow som recipe, and the pungent jeow mak muang.

What is jeow bong

Jeow bong is a spicy and sweet Lao chili paste, known for its umami flavor. Used mostly as a dip for sticky rice, vegetables, and grilled meat, its unique ingredient is pork skin or water buffalo skin.

Laos chili paste recipe

Warning – this dip is spicy and seriously addictive! This Lao spicy chili paste is THE BOMB, hands down!

It’s insanely delicious and my absolute favorite for spicing up hard-boiled eggs, beef jerky, or sticky rice.

Whip it up with a traditional mortar and pestle, or make it in a snap using a food processor.

Lao jeow bong dipping sauce in a granite mortar, a blend of chili and herbs.

It’s a meal prep superstar, so go ahead and make a big batch to spice up your meals all week long.

If you’re as crazy about spicy food as I am, jeow bong is a MUST-TRY.

Lao chili paste, jeow bong, in a sauce cup surrounded by sticky rice accompaniment, beef jerky, and fresh vegetables.

Why try this recipe

  • Great for parties and meal prep: Its long shelf life means you can make it in advance and store it for later. You’ll always have a flavor-packed dip ready for unexpected guests or to spice up your weekday meals.
  • A taste of Lao cuisine at home: Ever tried Lao food? It’s a world where bold, strong flavors rule! This simple jaew bong recipe brings the bold flavors into your home.
  • Healthy and nutritious: This spicy dip is loaded with nutrition. Chilies, shallots, galangal, and lemongrass, this dip is as healthy as it is delicious
  • Versatile ingredient: This Lao chili paste can be used as a marinade, as a stir-fry base, or as a spread for sandwiches.
  • Customize the heat: This recipe allows you to adjust the heat level to make it as mild or as spicy as you like, making it a crowd-pleaser.

People in Laos, Isan, and even further love jeow bong for its great taste. It’s also called Luang Prabang chili sauce, jaow bong, jaeo bong, and gel bong. This chili paste is really popular and used as an accompaniment with lots of dishes.

Ingredients

For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.

Top-view of jeow bong ingredients: Tamarind paste, white sugar, fish sauce, garlic, shallots, dried chilies, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves.
  • Kaffir lime leaves – Also known as makrut lime leaves, these fragrant leaves add a fresh citrusy note. You can get them fresh or frozen at most Asian grocery stores.
  • Dried chilies – Dried chilies give this paste its spiciness and a smoky note. For a mild chili paste, feel free to use fewer chilies or use a mild type of chili.
  • Galangal – Galangal is in the ginger family, adding a citrusy, spicy, and aromatic kick.
  • Shallots – Shallots add a natural sweetness and mild onion flavor, complementing the bold flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Garlic
  • Tamarind paste – Tamarind paste add a subtle tangy and slightly sweet flavor, balancing the heat of the chilies.
  • White sugar – A little sugar is needed to round out the flavors and enhancing the overall taste of this jeow bong dip recipe.
  • Fish sauce – This umami-loaded ingredient is a staple in Thai and Lao cuisine. Use a high-quality brand like red boat fish sauce.
  • MSG – Often used in Lao food, MSG is a flavor booster that enhances the savory, umami notes of this Lao chili relish.
  • Water – Helps to adjust the consistency of the paste.
  • Oil – Oil is used for frying the base ingredients, releasing aroma and melding their flavors, and giving the spicy paste a rich texture.

I didn’t include pork skin in this recipe to cater to a wider audience, so more people can enjoy this Lao delicacy. Don’t worry, it’s still as delicious without!

Cooking instructions

Roast the spices

Stages of roasting spices in a pan: roasted shallots and garlic, kaffir lime leaves with galangal, and finally dry red chilies, prepared for grinding.

1. Start by roasting shallots and garlic in a dry pan until golden and fragrant. Then roast the kaffir lime leaves and chunks of galangal until they release their citrusy and earthy scents. Finally, roast the dry red chilies until they darken slightly for a smoky heat.

Pound and fry the paste

Grinding steps of jeow beong in a mortar: finely pounded dried chilies, then mixed with galangal and kaffir lime leaves, and lastly fried in a wok.

1. Start with pounding the dried chilies in your mortar. Pound them into a fine powder.

2. Add galangal and kaffir lime leaves. Pound until all the pieces are broken down, and the mixture is well blended.

3. Pound in the shallots and garlic until you get a fragrant paste.

4. Heat oil in your pan over medium-low heat, then fry the paste, stirring gently. Pour in all sauces and water, continue frying until the paste has absorbed all liquid, and transform into a sticky chili paste ready for use.

Also try my Thai chili paste, nam prik pao, and don’t miss out on my collection of Lao cuisine recipes!

Kitchen tools

  • Granite mortar and pestle or food processor. I advise using a granite mortar and pestle, which releases more flavor and aroma, as well as giving the paste an authentic texture.
  • Non-stick wok with spatula or large frying pan for roasting the dried chilies and frying the paste.
  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups

What to eat jeow bong with

Lao spicy chili paste is perfect with lots of dishes.

  • Raw or cooked vegetables like Thai eggplant, yard long beans, lettuce, and carrots.
  • Steamed fish or grilled meat like pork, chicken, or beef.
  • Toss your noodles with the chili paste.
  • A portion of steamed sticky rice.
  • Pork rinds
  • Beef jerky

Frequently asked questions

How to make jeow bong less spicy?

To reduce the spiciness of jeow bong, adjust the amount of dried chilies in the preparation. Alternatively, use a mild type of dried chilies or use fewer chilies. Another trick is to add a bit more sugar to balance out the flavors.

What does jeow bong mean?

“Jeow” in Lao means dip or sauce, and “bong” is a term used in the Luang Prabang dialect, indicating the origin of this particular style of chili paste. Jeow bong translates to a chili dip from Luang Prabang.

What does jeow bong taste like?

Jeow bong is earthy, sweet, and spicy. Known for its umami-rich flavor, it can be used to spice up side dishes like sticky rice and vegetables.

Where did jeow bong originate from?

Jeow bong originated in Laos, specifically from the region of Luang Prabang.

More Lao recipes you’ll love

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Prep Time 20 min Cook Time 20 min Total Time 40 mins
Servings: 5 Calories: 104

Description

This jeow bong recipe is a delightful blend of spicy, umami, and slightly sweet flavors.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Fry the spices

    Start by roasting shallots and garlic in a dry pan until golden and fragrant. Then roast the kaffir lime leaves and chunks of galangal until they release their citrusy and earthy scents. Finally, roast the dry red chilies until they darken slightly for a smoky heat.

  2. Pound the paste

    Pound the dried chilies in your mortar. Pound them into a fine powder.

    Add galangal and kaffir lime leaves. Pound until all the pieces are broken down, and the mixture is well blended.

    Pound in the shallots and garlic until you get a fragrant paste.

  3. Fry the paste
    Heat oil in your pan over medium-low heat, then fry the paste, stirring gently. Pour in all sauces and water, continue frying until the paste has absorbed all liquid, and transform into a sticky chili paste ready for use.
Nutrition Facts

Servings 5


Amount Per Serving
Calories 104kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g10%
Saturated Fat 2.5g13%
Total Carbohydrate 13.43g5%
Dietary Fiber 2.3g10%
Sugars 5g
Protein 1.94g4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Note

Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.

Use as a dipping sauce for: sticky rice, fresh vegetables, jerky, pork rinds, and more.

Keywords: jeow bong, jeow bong recipe, Lao chili paste
About Author

Praew

I owned my own Thai restaurant and have years of experience in various other Thai restaurants. I've been whipping up classic Thai dishes by my mother's and grandma's side since I was just a little girl. Now I'm sharing my deep-rooted passion with my authentic Thai recipes on this food blog.

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