If you think nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce) is pungent, then this stuff will positively reek. But man! Is it good! :P While both sauces are made from fermented anchovies, regular nuoc mam is strained until only the salty liquid is left. Mam nem uses the whole fish.
Mam Nem (Vietnamese Fermented Anchovy Dipping Sauce)
1 bottle of mam nem (Vietnamese fermented anchovy sauce)
1 can of pineapples, reserve liquid, or fresh pineapple
Optional: chili peppers, lime juice, garlic, sugar. I use my mom's quick and easy method.
One bottle of mam nem (Vietnamese fermented anchovy sauce) and one can of pineapples, drained of liquid. Puree. Then doctor it up with chili, garlic, lime juice, or sugar to your taste. That's it.
Ideally, fresh pineapples would be best but canned works fine in a jiffy. Add some of the reserved pineapple juice or sugar if the sauce is too salty.
One of my simple pleasures is cutting up slices of Thai eggplants and dipping them in the sauce. I have fond memories of one summer when my ba noi (paternal grandmother) grew 17 Thai eggplants. She was so proud of them and even had my uncle film them so she could show it to relatives in Vietnam. She wanted me to exclaim on camera, "Wow! Ba noi, how did you grow such beautiful eggplants?" But alas, I'm not that much of a ham. Now I wish I had done it. Only because it was such a simple request that would have given her such pleasure.
It was a bumper crop that year. Every day we picked some, sliced them, and dipped them into sauce. If you've never prepared Thai eggplants before, just make sure you let the cut slices soak in heavily salted water to drain out the dark bitter juices. Sometimes it was just me, ba noi, and the older '88 at the kitchen table with just plain old rice paper without any fillings, rolling it up and dipping it into, mam nem, or its smelly cousin mam ruoc (Vietnamese fermented shrimp paste). Hehe. Any other Vietnamese do that too? :)
1 year ago today, overly salty dishes at Roy's - Newport Beach, and a little primer on che at Thach Che Hien Khanh - Westminster (Little Saigon).