Recipe by Lori Ross
This is the essential Vietnamese table condiment/dipping sauce, and makes a great salad dressing.
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tbsp white vinegar or rice vinegar
1/4 cup carrot, shredded (optional)
1 small hot chili, seeded and minced, or 1 tsp pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced, or 2 tsp garlic paste
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup warm water
Combine all ingredients and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Store in refrigerator. Yield: about 2 cups.
NOTE: You can replace lettuce cups with presoaked rice papers (available at Asian or gourmet markets) on the side. To prepare the rice papers, take a small stack of the dry papers and hold them under gently running cold water; be sure to let the water run between the layers. Shake gently and let stand on a plate for a few minutes. Repeat until all of the rice papers are soft. Pile them in a single stack on the serving platter layering some lettuce leaves in between the rice sheets so they don’t stick...they must stay damp. Diners take a piece of rice paper and lay it on their plate; add the garnishes of their choice and a spoonful or two of the main dish or salad, roll up the entire bundle, and dip the roll into a dipping sauce.