Nuoc cham

May 20, 2009

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Makes 1 1/2 cups or enough to serve 6

In "Noodles Every Day," author Corinne Trang writes that this traditional Vietnamese condiment can be sprinkled on grilled meat set on a salad of rice noodles with shredded vegetables. Look for fish sauce that is light to medium gold, she says. If it is dark like soy sauce or slightly crystallized - or has sat on your pantry shelf for years - it's probably too old. Trang says that finely chopping the garlic and chili pepper will make the sauce spicier.

1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime or lemon juice (about 6 limes or 4 lemons)
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 fresh red Thai chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1. In a saucepan over very low heat, combine the fish sauce and sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves, but do not bring the mixture to a boil.

2. Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Set aside to cool.

3. Stir in the lime or lemon juice, garlic, and chili pepper. Set aside for 20 minutes or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Adapted from "Noodles Every Day"


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