Vietnamese dipping sauce

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient
1 cup Minced fresh pineapple
3 tablespoons Mam nem (anchovy sauce)
2 \N Garlic cloves, crushed
1 \N Fresh red chili pepper, seeded
1 tablespoon Sugar
3 tablespoons Fresh lemon juice
1½ teaspoon Rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons Nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)

For anchovy lovers, here are a couple of variations for a Vietnamese dipping sauce made with 'em. This is traditionally served with Beef Fondue with Vinegar (Bo Nhung Giam) that is part of the Vietnamese feast called Bo Bay Mon (Beef in seven ways++seven distinct ways of preparing beef). It's good with other stuff too but can be a bit strong to Western tastes. Some restaurants have it but you might have to ask for it. This is by far the most intricate of sauces in the Vietnamese culinary repertoire. What makes it so special is the use of a condiment called mam nem, prepared from ground fresh anchovies and salt and fermented over a period of time. It can become dangerously addictive. Traditionally, mam nem is served as a dipping sauce for barbecued or fried fish. In general it goes well with grilled foods. It is an essential sauce fro Beef Fondue with Vinegar.

Use only fresh pineapple and remember to shake the bottle of anchovy sauce thoroughly before using. Anchovy cream may be substituted.

Over a bowl, squeeze the pineapple between your hands to extract as much juice as possible. Combine the pulp and juice and set aside.

Into a bowl, strain the anchovy sauce through a very fine sieve, pressing on th solids with a spoon to extract all of the liquid.

Discard the solids.

Pound or crush the garlic, chile and sugar to a fine paste in a bowl.

Stir in the pineapple mixture, strained anchovy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar an fish sauce. Stir to blend.

Yield: 1⅓ cups

VARIATION: If you are unable to find mam nem sauce, here is a variation of the above recipe, using canned anchovies. Add pineapple, if desired. 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 fresh red chili pepper, seeded 2 tablespoons sugar 2 cans (2 ounces each) flat anchovies, drained ¼ cup nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce) ¼ cup fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons pineapple or water

Combine the garlic, chile and sugar in a mortar and pestle and pound to a fine paste. Add the anchovies and mash to a very smooth paste.

Stir in the fish sauce, lemon juice and pineapple juice. Mix well.

Yield: about 1 cup.

From "The Foods of Vietnam" by Nicole Rauthier. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. 1989.

Posted by Stephen Ceideburg; January 22 1991.

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