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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nuoc Mam Cham -- Mixed fish sauce

If there is one thing you want to make right when you want to make Vietnamese cuisine, it's nuoc mam cham.  Nuoc mam is to the Vietnamese what ketchup is to Americans or soy sauce is to the Chinese.  It's basically fish sauce mixed with a few other ingredients to make it a great dipping sauce.  Fish sauce alone, for the most part, is too strong and doesn't have the depth of flavor you want.  Mixing it with some garlic, sugar, lime and a couple other things helps immensely with the flavor profile.

It's hard to post a recipe like this up.  Like I've mentioned before, I don't measure and I don't know exact measurements.  But the proportions are the same, so I'll try to list it.  Again, these is really up to personal preference as well.  Some like it more acidic and some like it sweeter, you'll want to taste and adjust to your own personal preferences.

Homemade "sambal"... much spicier :)
Recipe for nuoc mam cham:

1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup water
3 tbs sugar
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 thai chili or 2 tsp sambal chili paste
... or use your own chili concoction

And that's it for the mixed fish sauce.  Again, everything is up to personal preference, my recipe will give you an idea of the proportions to use.  If you like a stronger flavor, use less water.  More salty?  Add more fish sauce.

Try it out, it goes great with the egg rolls recipe and in the future I'll definitely have more recipes up that'll use this sauce.