Monday, February 23, 2009

All-purpose Thai Dipping Sauce (Nam Jim)

When you get street food in Thailand, anything that has been deep-fried (spring rolls, fritters, meatballs, tod man pla, snacks, for example), you get served along with it a dipping sauce. This recipe is different than the normal dipping sauce, it has not been thickened with tapioca or corn starch (and, if you like it thick, you can add it to this recipe); it is also less dark, as it doesn't add plum sauce, or pickled garlic and its water, or boil the syrup longer till it turns dark (ie. caramelizes the sugar). You can keep this sauce in the refrigerator indefinitely, but it won't last long enough for it to go bad. You can also buy it in bottles in the store, it will be the thick version. The chilies that you use are the long ones, they will be less hot than the small ones. If you like your dipping sauce sweet, add more sugar; sharper, add more vinegar; hotter, add more chili; feel free to play with the combinations of ingredients. The dipping sauce that this recipe makes is sharp, sweet and hot. Delicious.

All-purpose Thai Dipping Sauce (Nam Jim)
425 mL white vinegar
600 g cane sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp salt
125 mL water
50 g long red chili
50 g garlic (1 whole bulb)

Place water, vinegar, sugar and salt in pot. Bring to boil. Stir. Once sugar has dissolved, lower heat.

Meanwhile, slice chili 1 cm thick. Chop garlic. Place in food processor and process into very small chunks.

Add chili-garlic mixture to heated vinegar. Heat for 2-3 minutes more.

Let cool. Once cool, place in glass container. Keep in refrigerator.

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