Healthy Food

Penne with Spicy Tomato and Fingerroot Sauce


Nam Prik Ong, a spicy tomato sauce, hails from the Northern region of Thailand and has a distinctive, appealing reddish-orange hue. Tomatoes and dried chilis are simmered until they form a thick, slightly oily paste. The paste should be sour, salty, spicy, and sweet and is usually consumed with pork knuckle and vegetables.

The word ‘Ong’ in northern dialect means cooking until the water evaporates and the dish clearly reflects their culture as the majority of ingredients are grown and sourced locally.

One story related to this dish tells of a Burmese immigrant named Ong Mong who wanted to eat rice noodles with cotton flower soup. While the chili paste for the soup was being pounded, Ong Mong’s son began crying and wouldn’t stop. Ong Mong became so angry that he scooped up some of the unfinished chili paste and fed it to his boy, along with some vegetables that were lying around. It turned out to be delicious and became a dish all of its own, one which eventually became known as “Grandpa Ong’s Chili Paste” which was eventually shorted to Nam Prik Ong, as it remains known today.

Health Benefits

‘Penne with Spicy Tomato and Fingerroot Sauce’ is a dish that perfectly combines flavors from both east and west. Boil the Penne then heat the pan and stir-fry the onions, meat, and other ingredients. Add the main ingredient like tomato paste to create a mellow, tangy taste. Put the Penne on a plate, cover with the sauce, garnish with parmesan cheese and serve.

  • ‘Tomatoes’ are rich in antioxidants.*
  • ‘Finger root’ contains Quercetin to help relieve cough and cold symptoms.
  • ‘Garlic’ enhances immunity.**
  • ‘Dried chili’ helps relieve cold symptoms and reduce mucus and phlegm.***
  • ‘Shallot’ helps prevent allergies, anti-inflammation and protects against bacteria and viruses.****
  • ‘Galangal’ helps prevent allergic reactions, has an anti-inflammatory effects, and prevents bacteria and viruses.*****
  • ‘Lemongrass’ enhances immunity.******
  • ‘Pepper’ has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect.********


  • cooked penne pasta 150 gr
  • red curry paste 20 gr
  • tomato 30 gr
  • minced pork 50 gr
  • coriander 5 gr
  • fish sauce 25 gr
  • sugar 10 gr
  • spring onion 5 gr
  • shallot 10 gr


Combine the red curry paste with oil.

Add tomatoes and shallots.

Add minced pork and stir-fry until cooked through, add the penne pasta and mix thoroughly. Add fish sauce and sugar to flavour.

Garnish with spring onion and serve.

* Wimon Srisuk. Department of Food Chemistry Faculty of Pharmacy Mahidol University Articles disseminate knowledge to the public. How to eat tomatoes to get high lycopene.
** Moutia M, et al. Review Article In Vitro and In Vivo Immunomodulatory Activities of Allium sativum L. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2018; Article ID 4984659.
*** Vonne D., Ofelia G., Guillermo O., José P., & Tzayhrí G. (2014). Determination of Capsaicin, Ascorbic Acid, Total Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Capsicum annuum L. var. serrano by Mid Infrared Spectroscopy (Mid-FTIR) and Chemometric Analysis. Journal of the Korean Society for Applied Biological Chemistry, 57(1): 133-142.
**** Russo M, Spagnuolo C, Tedesco, The flavonoid quercetin in disease prevention and therapy: facts and fancies. Biochem Pharmacol. 2012;83(1):6-15.
***** Russo M, Spagnuolo C, Tedesco, The flavonoid quercetin in disease prevention and therapy: facts and fancies. Biochem Pharmacol. 2012;83(1):6-15.
****** Khaerunnisa S, et al. Potential Inhibitor of COVID-19 Main Protease (Mpro) from Several Medicinal Plant
Compounds by Molecular Docking Study. Preprints 2020

******* Tasleem F, Azhar I, Ali SN, Perveen S, Mahmood ZA. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of Piper nigrum L. Asian Pacific journal of tropical medicine. 2014;7(Suppl 1):S461-S468.