Nước chấm is one of the most used and well-known condiments in Vietnam, made mostly of fish sauce and lime juice it also has some sugar, chilies, and garlic. As with most countries and their favorites recipes, they vary by region. Our recipe is the South Vietnamese variation, adding coconut water for bit more sweetness, which helps to round out the heat for the chiles.
Never make Nước chấm in advance. It just won't keep for more than a few hours. Because of its simplicity, it is best made and used the same day.
These spring rolls have cucumbers, mung bean sprouts, and mint. Simple, healthy, and light, they make the perfect spring or summer appetizer. Although it is not recommended to make the dipping sauce ahead of time, these spring rolls can be prepared at least three hours before serving but should be wrapped in a damp cloth and refrigerated as soon as they are made.
Suggestions and Alternatives
- If you cannot find palm sugar, white sugar or cane sugar can be substituted.
- Coconut water is not necessary. Filtered cold water is just fine.
- Rice wine vinegar can be removed from the ingredients completely, but you must use lime juice
- Sesame oil makes a great non-traditional addition to this recipe, try it out sometime
- Depending on your tolerance for heat you'll want to moderate the amount added.
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Spicy Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 cup fish sauce
- 1/8 cup coconut water
- 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/8 cup lime juice
- 1/8 cup palm sugar
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 4 whole red chiles chopped
- 4 tablespoons cilantro chopped
- 2 tablespoons scallions finely chopped
- in a large bowl, add palm sugar and dissolve with coconut water
- add fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, and lime juice
- fine mince 2 garlic cloves
- slice 4 red birds eye chiles paper thin
- whisk all together for 1 minute