We used to make this in the hotel I worked in and would serve it with seasonal veggie fritters and crème fraîche. A soft boiled egg with a piece of toast slathered in butter and this is just about one of my favourite meals ever.
10 cloves of garlic
6 red chilies
1 red bell pepper
3 inch piece of ginger
1 inch piece of galangal (if you can’t find it use more ginger)
8 lime leaves
3 lemongrass hearts
1 tbsp coriander seeds
250g palm sugar (I’ve substituted jaggery and demerara)
100ml rice vinegar
25ml fish sauce
50g soy sauce
Put the first eight ingredients in a food processor and whiz to a paste.
Put the sugar and water in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to the boil and leave to bubble until a darkish caramel forms. This will take quite a while. Don’t stir once the sugar has dissolved or it will crystallise.
Add the paste, fish and soy sauce and simmer until it reaches a jam-like consistency. The paste should go from bright red to darker than bourguignon. Be patient.
Store in sterilised jars.