Though nu’o’c cha´m is popular all over Vietnam, it varies slightly in character from place to place. In Hanoi, for instance, it is often made with sliced rather than chopped chiles and garlic, resulting in a milder sauce.
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 fresh hot red chile (thai or serrano)
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1⁄4 cup Vietnamese fish sauce (nu’ó’c mam)
- Combine sugar, lime juice, and 1⁄4 cup warm water in a small bowl. Stir until sugar has completely dissolved.
- Slice chile on the diagonal (it is always best to wear rubber gloves when working with chiles), then peel and slice garlic.
- Add chiles, garlic, and fish sauce to the lime juice mixture. Mix well and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow flavors to develop.