Kim Dao and her husband, Hong Pham, publish the ravenouscouple.com blog, inspired mainly by the Vietnamese cooking of their families. They like to serve this tangy sauce, based on the classic Vietnamese table sauce nuoc mam cham, with a rich, crisply fried appetizer called Firecracker Shrimp--but they thicken it slightly for dipping. For serving with noodle bowls, they recommend skipping the cornstarch step so it's easier to drizzle.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce and/or 2 tbsp. minced red bird chile or other hot chile
2 tablespoons cornstarch (if thickening)
How to Make It
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 2 cups water, then stir in sugar, fish sauce, and vinegar. Stir to dissolve sugar.
If not thickening the sauce, let it cool, then stir in ginger, garlic, and lime juice. Add Sriracha and/or chile.
If thickening the sauce, after sugar dissolves in Step 1, ladle 1/4 cup of mixture into a bowl and stir in cornstarch. Pour back into saucepan and simmer, stirring, until as thick as maple syrup, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool and add remaining ingredients as in Step