Since travelling to Vietnam and Laos, I’ve been making a lot of southeast Asian dishes. Vietnamese food, in particular, makes liberal use of nước chấm – an addictive sweet, sour, salty and spicy dipping sauce or dressing that is made by flavoring fish sauce. It takes only a matter of minutes to prepare and it goes very well over any Asian salad, as a dipping sauce for spring rolls or summer rolls, or over rice vermicelli topped with grilled lemongrass-marinated chicken.
The main variation is whether to use vinegar or lemon juice for the acid. It’s purely a matter of personal preference – try it both ways!
Flavored fish sauce – nước chấm
- 1/2 cup fish sauce
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup white vinegar or lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1-2 Thai chilis
Mince the garlic cloves and Thai chilis.
In a medium-sized bowl, add the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar or lemon juice, and water, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the garlic and chilis and stir gently to combine. Serve immediately alongside any Asian salad, summer rolls, or our grilled lemongrass chicken. Save some for later in the refrigerator; it stores well.