Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce)
This all-purpose Vietnamese dipping sauce was taught to me by Susie Bui, a wonderful cook who once had a Vietnamese-Brazilian fusion restaurant in Dallas called Lumi. Unless you like your sauce searing hot, best to start with one chile, and add more until it's as spicy as you like it.
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (juice of 1 juicy lime)
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 to 2 Thai chiles, sliced
In a small bowl, combine the garlic cloves, fish sauce, lime juice, 3 tablespoons water, sugar and chiles. Taste and add more lime juice, sugar or chiles as necessary.