I love a good short-cut when it comes to cooking, but when it comes to salad dressing, I try where possible to make my own. Store-bought salad dressing is just never quite as good.
One day I’ll share how I make my own Honey Mustard, Caesar, and Thousand Island dressings but today – it’s salad with Vietnamese-style dressing. I love how it is sweet and salty with a tangy pungency that comes from the addition of fish sauce and freshly squeeze lime juice.
Back story: I deep fried a bunch of Malaysian/Nyonya style chicken over the weekend and wanted a sauce that would double as dressing for salad and dipping sauce for the chicken. Something really salty and flavourful, almost pickled. I remembered then the dipping sauce that one of the Vietnamese eateries near us serves (thank you LS for introducing me to Saiguette :P).
I looked at this recipe from Luke Nyguyen as a starting point, reducing the amount of rice vinegar but increasing the amount of lime juice. Sorry, didn’t get think to take a picture of just the dressing itself!
Ingredients (makes about 1/2 a cup)
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1.5 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon Chilli sauce (or 1 small red Chilli, de-seeded and finely minced)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1. Heat the water, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and white sugar in a small saucepan over low-medium heat just until sugar dissolves. Let cool.
2. In the meantime, mix garlic, chilli sauce (or fresh chilli) and lime juice in bowl.
3. Add the cooled fish sauce mixture to the bowl of garlicy, fragrant lime juice.
4. Taste – if it’s too salty, add more lime juice or a little bit of water.
5. Drizzle dressing over tossed crunchy vegetables like thinly sliced cucumber, carrot, onion, and a bit of tomato and cilantro leaves if you like. Also goes fantastically with grilled/deep fried meats.