Nam Prik Pao is a chilli paste made from roasted red chillis, garlic, shrimp paste and fish sauce. It is the key ingredient to Tom Yum soup, pad thai and many iconic Thai dishes.
The consistency is jam like and indeed I’ve seen references to it being used as spread on bread. I haven’t tried but I suspect this is for hardier folks than me.
In my Thai cooking class I was surprised to see the instructor putting a teaspoon in almost all the dishes. Later when I looked at the recipe hand-outs, it was often missing from the ingredients list. An oversight? or maybe a ploy to hide the secret weapon for authentic dishes? Well, the secret is out. I have my personal stash at home.