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Basic Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)
Nuoc cham is a ubiquitous chili-garlic-fish sauce dipping sauce, served at every meal in Vietnam

Ingredients:
1 fresh red chili, seeds and membranes removed, if desired
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons fresh mint
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 fresh lime, peel and pith removed
2 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce

Directions:
1. Pound the chili, garlic, and mint in a mortar with a pestle until the mixture forms a paste. Add the sugar and lime, and pound until smooth.
2. Place mixture in a bowl, and mix in the fish sauce. (If mixture is too strong for your taste, add a little water.)

Vietnamese dipping sauces are much like Thai dipping sauces. But though either may include fermented fish sauce, the Vietnamese versions will be stronger tasting, because their fish sauce (nuoc nam) is more pungent than Thai fish sauce (nam pla). Nuoc cham is a ubiquitous chili-garlic-fish sauce dipping sauce, served at every meal in Vietnam. Sometimes fresh herbs are added; the following version includes fresh mint. Makes about 1/4 cup