Vietnamese Fish Sauce.
If you’ve ever been to a Vietnamese restaurant, then you must be familiar with Nuoc Mam.
This is a very fragrant condiment fish sauce, which can accompany rice, red meat, poultry, and fish dishes, adding depth of flavour and aroma. Versatile and addictive this sauce can also be used as a dip for spring rolls, Vietnamese pancakes or even fried squid.
To the Vietnamese, it is more than just a condiment. It is used to flavour and enhance a recipe, as a cooking ingredient or even as a salad dressing.
Everything they eat, from salads to noodles or even the traditional Pho soup is covered in this delicious sweet, spicy and tangy sauce. Take it away, and food would become bland and missing this je ne sais quoi that to them, makes the whole difference.
Basic fish sauce can be found in Vietnamese or Chinese supermarkets, but this type is a strong and pungent basic ingredient which can be seasoned to lighten and add depth to the overall flavour.
This real staple of Vietnamese cuisine can easily be enjoyed at home with the following recipe, once again provided by our favourite cook, Mr Lee.
1 Cup of Squid fish sauce
3 cups of water
3 garlic cloves
3 red chillies
2 tablespoons of sugar
The juice of 1 and ½ limes
Chop the garlic and chillies and mix together until you obtain a paste and set aside.
Mix the fish sauce and water together (3 parts water, to 1 part fish sauce), and add the limejuice and sugar. The deep brown colour of the Squid fish sauce should turn lighter into a clear pale orange. Taste the sauce and add further seasoning to your taste.
(If too salty add water if too tangy add sugar).
Finally add some of the chilli, garlic paste and stir well.