Sunday, July 13, 2008

nuoc cham~

Or, Vietnamese Dipping Sauce. Apparently as varied in Asian cooking as Thanksgiving dressing is in the South - every mom has her own way of doing it.This first try is using my friend Tom Tran's recipe. I liked it so much, I wrote it down in my Vietnamese cookbook so I won't lose it. The same ingredients in both, but different quantities. I think Tom's must be extra sweet, but I loved it.

I have to say - I had no idea what to expect. I've never had this before. I was out of limes, so I ran to town to get some, and though in our small town, rice paper is not available on the shelf (BUT...Chuck at one of the markets is ordering some for me, it will be here Monday - Yay for Chuck!), I found some frozen pork and shrimp egg rolls. I grabbed those, just to have something to dip, because I couldn't wait til Monday (patience is NOT my middle name).

Can I say that my mouth did a happy dance when I tasted the first dip? Is it ok to drink nuoc cham? lol

Here it is...try it and enjoy...and thank you, Tom, for sharing your recipe with me.

Tom Tran's Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
Mix these 3 ingredients in a pot and bring just to a boil, to make sure the sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely.
In a mortar & pestle, smash 4 cloves garlic and fresh red chili to taste. If you don't have fresh peppers, you can use red chili paste but don't add it yet. Add smashed garlic/chili mixture to cooled sugar mixture. Add juice and pulp of 1 lime and mix. If you are not using fresh chili, add red chili paste to taste now, and then add 1/4 cup fish sauce. Mix it well and serve.

Husband Jack was online at the time I was finishing this, and I asked him to search for the sauce to see about storage. When he found that info, I was so happy to see that the online picture of dipping sauce looked just like mine! Is that not awesome? And isn't it pretty?

In my opinion, cooking experiment number one is a total success. Please try, and come back to post your results. I'll be checking in on these recipes periodically, just to get some input.

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