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Nam Pla Wan: Irresistible Healthy Snack with Spicy, Sweet Shrimp Paste and Chok Anan Mangoes

Nam Pla Wan: Irresistible Healthy Snack with Spicy, Sweet Shrimp Paste and Chok Anan Mangoes

Thais often dream of simple fruit snacks that tickles the taste buds with the sweet, salty, spicy and savoury profile. One such snack is called “Ma Muang Nam Pla Wan”; where slices of Chok Anan mango, mildly sour and creamy goodness, is dipped into the shrimp paste sauce that is sweet, spicy and savoury. Thais love Chok Anan mangoes for its creamy taste when unripe and soft, delicious and fruity sweet when ripe.

Although the name is a mouthful, it can be easily broken down. “Ma Muang” is mangoes, while “Nam Pla Wan” means to “sweet fish dip”, which refers to the sweet shrimp dip.

The end result is a true blend of flavours with every bite, and the light bite of the chilli leaves us Thais wanting more of this delicious dip. Even the balance of temperature between the sweet shrimp dip and mango slices plays a big role in tantalizing the senses. Imagine having cool mango slices on a hot afternoon day – what an amazing combination!

Slices of Chok Anan mango on a plate, served with Nam Pla Wan (sweet shrimp paste dip) and red birds eye chilli for decoration.
Served chilled, it’s the perfect snack in the afternoon!

I also find this relatively healthier compared to the other snacks – there’s less guilt in eating fruits for snacks. 😉

The best part? Nam Pla Wan can be kept in an airtight container for a week in the fridge! More mangoes can consumed with this palatable dip throughout the week, yum!

Preparing the Chok Anan Mangoes

Shallots, Chok Anan mangoes, red and green birds eye chilli, dried chilli, shrimp paste, fish sauce, paste sugar and dried prawns.
All the ingredients used to make sweet shrimp paste sauce – I can’t wait to make it!

Firstly, select unripe mangoes; these should still be sour and firm to the touch. Peel the mango skin with a fruit peeler. With a sharp knife, carefully slice the mangoes, vertically. In one hand, gently hold the mango with its pointed tip facing away from you. In the other hand, apply enough pressure to slice the mango away from you. Each slice should have a gradient of thickness – thin and thick sides. Take your time to slice the mango as slowly as needed to prevent accidents from happening. When the core of the mango has been reached, turn the mango to the other side and continue to slice until only the core is left. Repeat for the other mango.

Slicing Chok Anan mangoes with skin peeled.
Becareful with the peeling method – the GIF is fast, but I actually took my time with slicing the mangoes.

Set aside all the mango slices in a bowl, cover with cling wrap and keep chilled in the fridge.

Slices of Chok Anan mango on a plate in cling wrap.
Using cling wrap will maintain the freshness of the mango slices in the fridge.

Next, make Nam Pla Wan, or the sweet shrimp paste dipping sauce 😉

Cooking Nam Pla Wan

Wash the shallots, remove the skin and slice thinly. Place in a bowl and set aside.

Slicing the shallots on a chopping board.
Try to use shallots from Thailand – the fragrance is amazing, not to mention, the size!

Chop the chillis to small pieces and set aside.

Red and green bird's eye chilli chopped to small pieces on a chopping board.
Chopping the chillis to make it easier to cook.

Next, cut the dried chillis to smaller pieces with a sharp pair of scissors. For this step, it is recommended to wear a pair of gloves while cutting the chilli as its compounds tend to stick to the skin – causing mild irritation on sensitive skin.

Dried chilli cut into smaller pieces in a glass bowl.
Remove the seeds from the dried chilli to reduce the heat of the dipping sauce.

Remove most of the seeds as the spiciness from the dried chilli flesh will be more than enough to spice up the dish.

Soak the dried prawns in hot water for about 2 minutes. Drain the water and pound them in a clean mortar with a pestle until the texture is flaky.

Dried prawns smashed into flakes with a pestle in a mortar.
Crush the dried prawns by pounding it to make it easier for the dried prawns to melt into the sauce.

Add 2 tablespoons of water in a large frying pan over high-medium heat. Add the palm sugar and stir with a spatula to quicken the melting process. The sugar gives the sweetness in the Nam Pla Wan.

Melting the paste sugar over high heat in the frying pan.
Stirring paste sugar with some water so it’s almost melted.

When the palm sugar has almost all melted, add the shrimp paste and continue to stir until it has all melted. The sugar will start to boil as well, so exercise extra caution in stirring the hot liquid; it can burn!

A small bowl of shrimp paste over a melting liquid of palm sugar.
Add the shrimp paste when the sugar is mostly melted – so they will melt evenly.

Once all the sugar lumps and shrimp paste has melted, continue to stir to prevent the sauce from burning. The Nam Pla Wan sauce will thicken and darken, while releasing its sweet and salty fragrance. Keep stirring until the sauce starts to come to a boil.

Sweet shrimp paste sauce in a rolling boil in the frying pan.
The sauce is ready for the chillis!

Pour in the fish sauce and continue to stir until combined. Continue to stir until the sauce comes to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low. Add both the de-seeded chopped fresh chilli and dried chilli into the pan. From experience, the amount of dry chilli exponentially increases the “heat” of the Nam Pla Wan. Use less chilli if the spiciness tolerance level is low 🙂

Chopped chilli in boiling shrimp paste sauce.
Spicing up the sweet shrimp paste sauce!

Add half of the shallots and dried shrimp into the sauce – and set aside the remaining half to be used as toppings for the finished Nam Pla Wan.

Dried shrimp flakes, shallots, and chili in hot shrimp paste sauce.
Bringing the sauce together!

Set the heat to medium-high and continue to stir until well-combined. Continue to cook for about a minute or so to soften the shallots and chillis. This will add some texture to the Nam Pla Wan.

Stirring the chillis, shallots and dried shrimp in the sweet shrimp paste sauce.
Continue to stir about a minute just to soften the shallots and chillis.

When the sauce starts to boil again, turn off the heat. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature.

A mixture of dried shrimp flakes, shallots, and chopped chilli in the sweet spicy shrimp paste sauce.
Allow the delicious sauce to cool to room temperature before bottling and serving!

Serving & Plating the Dish

Transfer the Nam Pla Wan in a small dipping bowl. Top with some shallots and dried prawns before serving with chilled mangoes in the fridge.

A bowl of sweet shrimp paste dipping sauce on a plate of sliced mangoes.
Delicious Thai snack for a hot and humid afternoon!

How I crave this for an afternoon snack these days! Give it a try, especially if you have an abundance of mangoes 🙂 The Thais can have this snack everyday and not get bored. It is one of the things that once remembered, I cannot help but to cook it and have it to satisfy my craving 😉

When the Nam Pla Wan is completely cooled, store in air tight containers in the fridge and consume within the week. Or simply have generous helpings with the chilled mango slices. 😉

Hope you like this recipe! Enjoy!

A bowl of sweet shrimp paste dipping sauce on a plate of sliced mangoes.

Thai Snack – Green Mango with Spicy Sweet Shrimp Paste Sauce

Somjit Najaireeb
A sweet, spicy and salty dip that compliments the mildly sour Chok Anan mango slices – perfect for an afternoon snack!
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine Thai
Servings 5 people
Calories 160 kcal


  • Fruit Peeler
  • Food Processor
  • Non-Stick Frying Pan
  • Silicone Spatula
  • Sharp Kitchen Knife
  • Chopping Board
  • Cling Wrap


  • 2 green mangoes, Chok Anan
  • 120 g shallots, recommended: thai shallots
  • 40 g dried shrimps
  • 150 g paste sugar, nam tal pip (cane sugar mixed with coconut sugar)
  • 4 tbsp Thai fish sauce, Tiparos brand
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste, belacan (mild)
  • 6 pieces dried chilli, (spicy chilli from Thailand) chopped, seeds removed
  • 6 pieces Mix of fresh red and green bird's eye chilli, chopped, seeds removed
  • 2 tsp water



  • Peel the mangoes and slice vertically to get pieces that are thick on one side and thin on the other. Cover with cling wrap and keep chilled in the fridge.
  • Slice shallots. Set aside.
  • Slice bird's eyes chillis. Set aside.
  • Using a sharp scissors, cut the dried chilli to smaller pieces, and remove as much of the seeds as possible. Set aside.
  • Soak dried shrimp in hot water for 2 minutes. Drain the water. Add the shrimp to a pestle and mortar and pound until flaky. Alternatively, use a food processor.


  • In a non-stick frying pan on medium heat, add the water and sugar. With a silicone spatula, stir the sugar until almost melted.
  • Add shrimp paste (belacan) and continue to stir until the sauce has melted. Allow the sauce to form a rolling boil.
  • When the sauce achieves a rolling boil, add the fish sauce and stir until fully incorporated. Continue boiling until the sauce has thickened.
  • When the sauce starts to boil vigorously, reduce the heat to medium low and add the bird's eye chilli and dried chilli. Add half the shallots and half the (pounded) dried shrimp.
  • Increase the heat to medium and stir the sauce lightly to allow the liquid to coat the chillis, shallots and shrimp.
  • Leave to cook for 1 minute to soften the shallots.
  • Turn off the heat and remove the sauce from the pan to cool.


  • Place the cooled sauce in a dipping bowl and the chilled mangoes on a platter.
  • Top the sauce with the shallots, followed by the dried shrimp.
  • Serve.



  1. Paste sugar can be substituted for palm sugar, however the amount should be reduced as paste sugar is less sweeter than palm sugar.
  2. The seeds from both bird’s eye chilli and dried chilli are removed as much as possible to ensure the sauce does not become too spicy.
  3. The amount of chilli used can be controlled to suit your tolerance level.
  4. The amount of sauce made is 5 servings – however, it can be kept in an airtight jar, chilled in the fridge for up to 1 week.


Calories: 160kcal
Keyword Chok Anan mango, paste sugar, pestle and mortar, salty, sour, spicy, sweet, thai fish sauce
Tried this recipe?Tell us how it was!

PS. Want another way to enjoy Chok Anan mangoes in a salad? Here’s my Mango Salad recipe 😉

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