Monday, August 20, 2012

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nước Chấm)

Vietnamese dipping sauce
Vietnamese dipping sauce with hot chili peppers
This is a typical dipping sauce called nước chấm that can be found in every Vietnamese home.  This sauce is used for many dishes such as salads, fresh spring rolls, stuffed squid, some rice/noodle dishes, and grilled meat to name a few.  My mother makes her sauce using white vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, garlic and shredded carrots and this keeps for many weeks.  She makes a large batch and gives us a jar when she visits.  When my family eats this sauce we prefer to add hot chili pepper to spice it up.  The spicier the pepper the better!

Ingredients:

1/2 C water
Juice from 1 lime
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 hot chili pepper, snipped thinly with scissors (optional)
1 Tbsp shredded carrot (optional)
1 Tbsp shredded daikon (optional)

Method:

1) Dissolve sugar in water in a small bowl.
2) Cut the lime in sections, remove the seeds, and squeeze all the juice from them.
3) Add the lime juice to the water and sugar mixture.
3) Add garlic and fish sauce to taste.
4) May add chili pepper, carrot and daikon if desire.

limes and leaves
*This sauce may be kept in a refrigerator for up to a week.
*Everyone has a different preference when making and consuming this sauce.  If you prefer to make this sauce sweeter then add more sugar.  If you like it more sour then add more lime juice. 

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