Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce)
Keep a jar of this sauce in the refrigerator; it will last for a month. You can find ground chile paste (my favorite is Rooster brand) and fish sauce at many supermarkets but always at Asian groceries.
Yields 1-1/2 cups.
To learn more, read the article:
Vietnamese Noodle Salads: Cool Meals for Warm Summer Nights
1 clove garlic
2 to 3 Thai bird chiles (or 1 small jalapeño or serrano chile), cored, seeded, and minced; more or less to taste
1/2 tsp. ground chile paste; more or less to taste
2/3 cup hot water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 Tbs. shredded carrots (optional)
In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and fresh chiles to a paste. (Or mince them together with a knife.) In a small bowl, combine this garlic and chile mixture with the chile paste, hot water, and sugar. Stir well. Add the fish sauce and lime juice and combine. Float the carrots on top. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before using.
nutrition information (per serving):
photo: Ben Fink
From Fine Cooking 27
, pp. 58-63
June 1, 1998