Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Vietnamese Dipping Fish Sauce(Nước mắm chấm)

When it comes to make this dipping sauce, I am the worse. No matter how many times I practice, the taste never turns out right, sometimes too sour, other times too salty. Really, it's not easy as it seems to be. Failing making the right sauce will eventually end up with the bad dish. Therefore, I decided to visit my uncle's house for a lesson today. He's an excellent cook;of course,an expert in dipping sauce.Luckily, I brought the measured cups along so both of us can have some fun experiments together( the reason is that my uncle usually makes the sauce by tasting and estimating only). Here are some notes that can be reviewed:

1/ Fish sauce for dipping sauce is normally saltier than the fish sauce for cooking. It can be seen by a darker color with a very high sodium contained ( normally 1490~1560mg) while the cooking sauce has a very light color with lower sodium ( approx 1420mg). Thus, the saltier the sauce is, the more water needed when making dipping sauce.

2/ The balance in the amount of water, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice in the sauce will create flotation when putting chopped garlics and chilies.

3/ Too much garlic will result in pungent smell

****The dipping sauce recipe my uncle showed me is for serving with the dishes that contain vermicelli,crepe, rice cakes and rolls.The fish sauce we used is the one that contains 1490gm sodium. This sauce tastes good for my standard, anyway, you can adjust the amount to suit your taste.

INGREDIENTS: ( using 1/3 cup measurement)
- 5/3 cup water ( if you refer a lighter taste, go for 4/3 cup water and 1/3 cup fish sauce)
- 2/3 cup fish sauce

- 1/3 cup + 1tsp sugar
- 1/6 cup ( = 1tbsp) lime juice
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp chili sauce

- 1-2 small chilie

- In a bowl, mix together water and fish sauce, test the saltiness by tasting.

- Dissolve sugar, then lime juice, test again to see if it satisfies your taste
- Add in pressed garlic,chilies and chili sauce

- Store in an air-tight container
- It can be kept refrigerated for more than one month

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