Nuoc Mam Recipes

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Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Vegetarian Mock Fish Sauce) Recipe

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.


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Vietnamese Egg Roll Recipe (Cha Gio) Recipe

Just like the vegetarian eggroll recipe, the meat-filled version is perfect as an appetizer when you have a big party. It's also a great way to get the little ones acquainted with cooking. It's one of my earliest memories of being in the kitchen.

Preparation is fairly simple and will resemble an assembly line. The filling is essentially mixed together raw and then it's on to assembling, folding and frying.

My littlest sister-in-law turned five this week and we're going to have a birthday party this coming weekend. We're making the mini variety for this occasion because it's a better size for the kids and all around works great as an appetizer. We'll be making between 100 and 200 eggrolls and I guarantee that there won't be any leftovers.


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Canh Chua Ca (Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Fish and Pineapple Soup) Recipe

Can chua cá literally means sour fish soup in Vietnamese.The composition of the soup is the Vietnamese equivalent of tom yum Thai soup.  The sour flavor is from the kaffir lime leaf and tamarind powder and the sweetness is from the crushed pineapple.

Recently, I made this soup for our dinner guests. I served it with a side bowl of steamed jasmine rice. At the end of the meal, I was surprised to see all the bowls completely empty, given that the flavors are somewhat unusual. But they seemed to love it, so I'm guessing you might as well.

Vietnamese Sweet and sour soup


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Vietnamese  Dipping Sauce with Fermented Fish Sauce Base (Nuoc Mam) Recipe

Vietnamese dishes are generally very healthy. They are usually composed of a starch like noodles or jasmine rice, a meat or fish, a bunch of greens and the whole meal revolves around a strong-flavored dipping sauce called nước mắm. The main ingredient is made from fermented fish sauce, which is rich in calcium and salt. The smell is very pungent. It's a very common flavoring in Vietnamese cuisine.

I made some bún cá chiên, literally rice vermicelli noodles with fried fish. I love to dip the crispy fried fish in the nuoc mam sauce. The fish absorbs all the sauce and it's divine.

Just add pickled daikon radish, carrots, coarsely crushed peanuts, some Vietnamese mint, grilled beef (or fried tofu for vegetarians) and you get a fresh healthy meal in minutes!!

 


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Pan Fried Catfish Fillets (Bun Ca Chien) Recipe

Catfish is a very inexpensive piece of seafood that is widely available in Vietnam. I went to Vietnam 10 years ago and I remember all the seafood that we had. When we came to visit Cantho, the town where my mom was born, we had a lot of fried fish that was freshly caught from the Mekong River.

The dish is called bún cá chiên (litterally a cold rice vermicelli noodles with fried fish in Vietnamese) served with nước mắm (fermented fish sauce), fresh and pickled vegetables. This dish is ultra easy to make and is delicious.

This is a simple recipe but like all simple things, each detail really counts. It's a very healthy dish as well.

 


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