Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Vegetarian Mock Fish Sauce)
If you like seasoning your Asian dishes such as bánh xèo and bì cuốn chay (fresh spring rolls) with the typical Vietnamese condiment called nước mắm but find it too strong to your taste or simply if you're a vegetarian, this recipe is for you. The vegetarian equivalent is called nước chấm.
I use lemon-flavored soy sauce as a main ingredient but there is a new product called nước mắm chay available in Asian stores. It gets a "sea" flavor from the addition of seaweed to the product.
It is also a nice addition to Asian soups like my sweet and sour pineapple soup. Just serve it on the side and let your guests add as much (or as little) as they like. In Vietnam, this sauce, or its fish-based equivalent, is as common on the dinner table as a salt shaker is in the West.
Yields: 44 tablespoons soy sauce or vegetarian fish sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
5 tablespoons boiling water
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons lime juice with pulp, freshly squeezed
4 teaspoon garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons red Thai chili pepper, finely chopped, to taste
In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in the boiling water. Let the water cool to room temperature. Add the rice vinegar, lime juice and soy sauce or vegetarian fish sauce. Mix in the garlic and chili pepper.
Your condiment is ready to serve.
If you like, you can add pickled daikon radish, carrots and coarsely crushed peanuts before serving.
I use Ponzu brand soy sauce; it's perfect as a dipping sauce. It's lemony and less salty than regular soy sauce.Published By: on July 28, 2009.