Nước chấm is a common name for a variety of Vietnamese “dipping sauces” that are served quite frequently as condiments. The recipe that follows can be adjusted to suit individual tastes by using more or less red pepper and nuoc mam. Nuoc cham is quite simple to make and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 30 days. A few spoonfuls over a bowl of plain rice can be considered an authentic Vietnamese peasant meal.
As you gain experience with this dipping sauce, adjust it to suit your preferences. There’s no secret formula. It’s just a simple sauce with a great blend of salty, sour, sweet and spicy.
Nước mắm pha is typically served with:
- Cơm tấm, or “Broken rice”.
- Chả giò, also known as Imperial rolls, sometimes mistaken as either egg rolls or spring roll(s).
- Gỏi cuốn, which are sometimes called shrimp salad rolls or referred to erroneously as “Rice paper Rolls,” a.k.a. springroll(s). (Alternately, gỏi cuốn are served with peanut sauce ortương xào made from tương- a Vietnamese fermented bean paste).
- Bánh xèo, a pan-fried crepe made out of rice flour and coconut milk and filled with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts.
- Bánh hỏi, very thin vermicelli that has been layered into sheets, and separated by thin layers of mỡ hành (scallions in oil)
- Bún, a basic food made from rice and eaten with vegetable.
In a small bowl, soak the red pepper flakes in the vinegar for 10–15 minutes.
In a second bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, and sugar.
Stir in 1½ cups boiling water and the pepper-vinegar mixture.
Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool. Serve at room temperature.
Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 30 days.
Click here to see the video: how to make nuoc cham