Nuoc cham is the dipping sauce served with every Vietnamese meal. There are different styles according to the region: in the north the sauce is usually a simple one of fish sauce (nuoc mam) and water with chopped chile peppers, whereas in the south, garlic, sugar, and lime juice are added. Bird chile peppers are best, but in case you can’t find them you can substitute different fresh hot chile peppers.
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 bird chile pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
Directions: combine the liquids, sugar, and 3 tbsp water, stirring till the sugar has dissolved. Add the chili pepper and garlic.
- Peel and finely chop a small piece of fresh ginger and add to the sauce.
- Replace the fish sauce with soy sauce and reduce the sugar to 1 tbsp.