Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Vietnamese Chili and Garlic Dipping Sauce--Auntie's Style (makes about 3 cups)

Every Vietnamese home has this house-made dipping sauce. This sauce should have a balance of saltiness, sweetness and tartness. Some like it spicy. Some like it very sweet. If you are one of these people then load up on the chili peppers or add extra sugar. Here is my eldest maternal aunt's (Tua Y) sauce. She adds fresh young coconut water but you may substitute with plain water. My aunt's secret is that she adds the fish sauce last. This way she can adjust how salty she wants her sauce. She said someone she knows tastes her sauce about 100 times before she is satisfied with it. She admitted this woman's sauce is very good. As for my aunt she makes her sauce by tasting only a few times. This sauce is high in salt and hearing that someone tasted that many times is a concern to me for health reasons. Most people I know do not have a recipe when they make this sauce. They make it by tasting it as they add ingredients. Yet, everyone I know seem to make it consistently just about every time. I hope with this recipe you do not have to taste and adjust your sauce too often. You can check out my sauce, Vietnamese Dipping Sauce from a previous posting but it is not as tasty as my aunt's.

This sauce may be used with all sorts of food such as spring rolls, salads, noodles, and many other Vietnamese cooking. Below are a few items that go well with this dipping sauce.

dip these fresh spring rolls into the sauce
these steamed shrimp may be peeled
and dip in the sauce
a little of the sauce can be drizzled over
this papaya and shrimp salad

2 fresh hot chili pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh squeeze lime juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups coconut water
1/2 cup (plus 1 Tbsp if you want this sauce more salty) good fish sauce


Combine chili pepper, garlic, lime juice, sugar and coconut water. Mix well and add fish sauce to taste.  Add more or less of the ingredients depending on your taste preference.

*Adjust the ingredients with hopefully a few tasting and adjust according to your own preference.
*May add shredded carrots and daikon if interested.
*My aunt de-seeds her chili pepper. I would highly recommend wearing gloves anytime you handle hot chili peppers.
*Keep the dipping sauce in glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.

hot chili peppers
young fresh coconuts

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