Thai Basil Chilli Paste (Nam Prik Horapa)

Thai basil chilli paste recipe. This spicy number is just perfect kept in the fridge and used as both a condiment and an ingredient.
Thai sweet basil chilli paste
Thai red chilli paste in white bowl
Thai sweet basil chilli paste

This Thai basil chilli paste is a hot little number with tangy, citrusy and anise-like flavour. You’ll be addicted to this, I warn you!

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Thai Basil Chilli Paste

So this Thai basil chilli paste recipe, post and the accompanying video (out in a week) was a bit of an impromptu thing. Totally unplanned and happened because I needed to top up my dispensary in the fridge. Yes, chilli pastes and sambals are my drug!

Good thing too because it’s been ages since my last Thai recipe on this site.

I didn’t come up with this recipe, I got the inspiration from a jar of red chilli paste that I used to buy from my local Korean shop. It contained Thai sweet basil and was absolutely delicious.

It was so good, I was buying way too many jars of it. So one day, it occurred to me that since I have easy access to Thai sweet basil throughout the year, I could make it myself. So I did.

A quick look at the ingredients and off I went.

Thai Sweet Basil
Thai Sweet Basil

What is Thai Sweet Basil?

Ocimum basilicum or horapa in Thai, the sweet basil is one of a gazillion types of basil leaves to be found. I can’t believe I don’t have a post on it!

This particular Thai basil is the more common of the 3 Asian varieties, and is quite often passed off as the more elusive Thai holy basil. The unsuspecting non Thai consumer doesn’t know any better. Click here to read more about Thai holy basil, or tulsi, as it’s known in Hindi.

Thai basil dark green, elongated leaves, as you can see. It has a sweet, and anise-like flavour, and you taste it in abundance in this chilli paste.

In this Thai basil chilli paste recipe, you can play around with the amount of basil you use. The balance between the basil and the chillies makes a huge difference to the final flavour.

Thai Holy and Sweet Basil
they are different in looks and flavour

Can’t get Thai Sweet Basil?

You can still make this chilli paste. Use any fresh basil leaves you can get your hands on, and you’ll have a basil chilli paste.

Thai holy basil, or tulsi, will go great in this.

The Chilli Paste Recipe

Besides the basil, it contains only a few other ingredients:

  • red chillies, naturally, Thai birds eye chillies would be perfect. But as you can see in the video, I’m not using those as I didn’t have any for this impromptu recipe.
    Use whatever red chillies you have or want.
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • lemongrass – this is my addition, the jar I used to buy didn’t have it
  • fresh lime juice
  • salt
  • sugar

So, a pretty basic group of ingredients for our Thai sweet basil chilli paste, not counting the Thai basil.

Thai sweet basil chilli paste
best you make lots and lots – trust me!

How to serve Thai Basil Chilli Paste?

I eat it with rice or noodles, as a sambal or a condiment.

For eg, twice a week, this is my dinner:

  • rice
  • salad or Malay or Chinese style vegetable soup
  • sardines in olive oil, straight out of the can, no heating (why kill the essential fatty acid?)
  • a huge dollop of sambal on the side

So, I’d have a portion of this Thai sweet basil chilli paste on the side to lift the flavour and for that must-have spice.

If I’m having noodles, same thing, a spoonful of it on the side to spice the noodle up.

Besides that, I also occasionally use it as a stir fry ingredient, whatever I’m frying. With the chillies, lemongrass, the basil and lime juice, you’ve got a great base of flavour to work with.

How long will this Chilli Paste Last?

This Thai basil chilli paste will last for 2 weeks in the fridge.

It doesn’t really want to be kept in the freezer because it’s a fresh chilli paste that’s meant to be used as a condiment, or a sambal.

Right then, shall we get our aprons on?

More Chilli Recipes

♥ If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! 😉 Thank you! ♥

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood

Lin xx

Thai sweet basil chilli paste

Thai Basil Chilli Paste

Thai basil chilli paste recipe. This spicy number is just perfect kept in the fridge and used as both a condiment and an ingredient.
5 from 12 votes
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Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: chilli, chilli paste, sambal, spicy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 9 (makes about 180 g/6 oz))
Calories: 8kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • bowls
  • chopper


  • 120 g red chillies any mix, this is up to you
  • 20 g Thai sweet basil leaves only
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 lemongrass
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp sugar white or palm, it doesn't matter
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh lime juice 1 large lime


  • Cut up the chillies a little for easier chopping.
  • Pick the leaves off the stems. A few thin stems are fine.
  • Place everything in a chopper, with only 2 tablespoons of the lime juice. Chop to a fine paste.
  • Taste, and add more salt, sugar and lime juice as necessary and if you think it needs some. You are aiming for a hot, sour and slightly sweet flavour.
  • Transfer to a clean jar and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


Per serving is estimated at 1 tablespoon, which is about (20 g/0.7 oz).


Serving: 1Tbsp | Calories: 8kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 131mg | Potassium: 59mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 246IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

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3 thoughts on “Thai Basil Chilli Paste (Nam Prik Horapa)”

  1. 5 stars
    I know this won’t last more than a couple of days at our place because Deena and I both live on chili sauces. I’d feel blessed with a bowl of noodles, topped with a fried egg and a heaped spoon of this sauce. Do you think dried basil leaves will work? Because I have a bagful and can make this right now if that won’t compromise the freshness or flavour too much.

  2. 5 stars
    The only basil I have is what will go in my Thai Basil Chilli paste. The reason I am saying the only basil because I think of tulsi as tulsi and not basil. I love this delicious chilli paste and love to make it for my girls. They will relish it with every meal.

  3. Mayuri Patel

    5 stars
    Interesting how each cuisine has its own version of fiery hot chilli pastes to use as a sauce or as a dip or chutney. Thai basil is definitely so different from the other basil we know of. What I like about this chilli paste is that there is no fish sauce or shrimp 🙂

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