This dressing has the bones of nuoc cham, a Vietnamese “mother” sauce. It pairs the brininess of fish sauce with the boldness of sambal oelek. However, if Sriracha is your spicy pantry staple, it makes a fine substitute. Use this dressing on roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts or in a rice noodle salad. Thai chiles pack a punch, so if you are sensitive to heat, skip the pepper.
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup fish sauce
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red Thai chile, thinly sliced (optional)
Fine sea salt
How to Make It
In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, sambal oelek, garlic, and Thai chile, if using, until the sugar dissolves; add salt to taste.