Hot & Sour Dipping Sauce | Nước mắm pha

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Nước mắm pha is the quintessential Vietnamese dipping sauce, used on spring rolls, rice noodles, salads, and more. It’s sweet, salty, and heavily spiced. A basic recipe includes freshly squeeze lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and water. The real flavor comes from garlic and fresh red chilies.

I learned on Food Safari (a great food/travel show – catch it if you can!) that if the cook can get the garlic and chili pieces to float in the nước mắm pha, they will get married.

A Vietnamese country wedding. Photo by Mike Fernwood.

A Vietnamese country wedding. Photo by Mike Fernwood.

Now, for those of you naysayers: there’s no reason to tell anyone about the fish sauce.

I promise.

Many unwitting folk enjoy this dipping sauce without being aware there is fish sauce inside. That’s because it lends a salty flavor to the dip, not an inordinately pungent one.

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There is one exception: if you make it with “first press,” “extra virgin” fish sauce, as I did this week. The flavor, much like olive oil of the same name, is quite a bit bolder in flavor.

Even my own Mr Picky, who has tastebuds of steel, has been eating Nước mắm pha for years. He was blissfully unaware – until this week, when I used the stronger fish sauce – that there was anything “fishy” about it.

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Makes 1+ cup

Ingredients

2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 cloves garlic, crushed
chopped thai bird chilies, to taste

Method:

This is beyond easy. There are two approaches.

1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl. Stir. Enjoy.

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2. Use a mortar and pestle to pound the whole garlic and de-stemmed chilies together. Combine with all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir. Enjoy.

If I had known a passport to Vietnam was this easy, I would have gone long ago.

For now, I’ll have to enjoy with yesterday’s DIY Spring Rolls.

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How about you? Have you ever heard of nước mắm pha? Are you a fan? Do you think you’ll try making it?

Hot & Sour Dipping Sauce | Nước mắm pha
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
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Many unwitting folk enjoy this dipping sauce without being aware there is fish sauce inside. That's because it lends a salty flavor to the dip, not an inordinately pungent one. There is one exception: if you make it with "first press," "extra virgin" fish sauce, as I did this week. The flavor, much like olive oil of the same name, is quite a bit bolder in flavor.
Servings
1+ cup
Servings
1+ cup
Hot & Sour Dipping Sauce | Nước mắm pha
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Many unwitting folk enjoy this dipping sauce without being aware there is fish sauce inside. That's because it lends a salty flavor to the dip, not an inordinately pungent one. There is one exception: if you make it with "first press," "extra virgin" fish sauce, as I did this week. The flavor, much like olive oil of the same name, is quite a bit bolder in flavor.
Servings
1+ cup
Servings
1+ cup
Ingredients
  • 2 limes , juiced
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic , crushed
  • Thai bird chili peppers , to taste
Servings: cup
Units:
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl. Stir. Enjoy.
  2. -OR-
  3. Use a mortar and pestle to pound the whole garlic and de-stemmed chilies together. Combine with all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir. Enjoy.

17 Comments

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