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Authentic Vietnamese recipes from the Motherland

Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

Mam Kho Quet is a sauce and vegetable dish derived from poverty when Vietnamese farmers had plentiful vegetables but very little protein. The dipping sauce is made by caramelizing fish sauce and sugar in a small clay pot with a small amount of pork, dried shrimp, dried fish, and/or pork fat. The sauce is then served in the clay pot alongside a platter of fresh and boiled vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, daikon, okra and squash. Mam Kho Quet is all about stretching a small amount of protein to add calories, as well as flavor, to an otherwise meager meal of mostly vegetables.

Although, Mam Kho Quet is a Vietnamese peasant dish, you can find it nowadays in many high-end restaurants all over Saigon. It's a taste of the past that is making its way back to mainstream Vietnam. Plus, it’s a great way to eat your vegetables!

 Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

 Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

 Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

 Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (You can also use rendered pork fat from making fried pork fat)
  • 1 small shallot (thinly slice)
  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp (about 10 small shrimp, presoak in warm water to soften then drain dry)
  • 1 garlic clove (roughly chop)
  • 2 tablespoons good quality fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fried pork fat (optional)
  • 1-4 chili peppers (optional)
  • Assorted fresh and boiled vegetables cut into sticks or bite sizes (cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, daikon, okra, bitter melon, op squash, winter melon, etc.)

Instructions

  1. In the very small clay pot, add oil. Heat on medium high then add shallot and dried shrimp. Stir until fragrant. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
  2. Add fish sauce and sugar. Cook for 2-3 minutes until mixture starts to boil and slightly thickens. Turn off heat.
  3. Top with black pepper, fried pork fat and chili peppers. Serve sauce in clay pot with fresh and/or boiled vegetables.
 Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

 Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce (Mam Kho Quet)

Vietnamese Shrimp & Pork Wonton Recipe (Hoành Thánh Tôm Thịt)

Wontons are a type of Chinese dumpling. Hoành Thánh is the Vietnamese equivalent and they are made primarily out of ground pork.

There are many ways to cook wontons. They can be steamed, boiled, pan-fried, deep-fried or a combination of these techniques (pan-fried first then add a little bit of water to steam with a covered lid), much like pot stickers.

Wontons can also be served in variety of ways. In Vietnamese cuisine, they are usually a component in soups as in Vietnamese Egg Noodle Wonton Soup (Mì Hoành Thánh). In American-Chinese cuisine, they are fried and served as appetizers with an accompanying sweet duck sauce, or a tangy vinegar soy sauce.

Below is my version of Vietnamese wontons. I like to add ground shrimp for better flavor and chopped jicama. The jicama not only provides sweetness, but it also gives a subtle crunch to the wontons. The unexpected crunch makes people ask what’s in it, and that, my friends, is where I have a little fun with my answers. Fried crickets? Human fetuses? The list of possibilities is endless.

 Shrimp & Pork Wonton (Hoành Thánh Tôm Thịt)

Shrimp & Pork Wonton (Hoành Thánh Tôm Thịt)

 Shrimp & Pork Wonton Recipe (Hoành Thánh Tôm Thịt)

Shrimp & Pork Wonton Recipe (Hoành Thánh Tôm Thịt)

 Shrimp & Pork Wonton Recipe (Hoành Thánh Tôm Thịt)

Shrimp & Pork Wonton Recipe (Hoành Thánh Tôm Thịt)

Vietnamese Shrimp & Pork Wonton Recipe (Hoanh Thanh Tom Thit)

Makes about 50 small wontons

Ingredients

  • 8 oz shrimp (peeled, deveined and finely chopped)
  • 8 oz ground pork
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped jicama
  • 1 green onion (thinly slice)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon (pinch) pepper
  • 2 teaspooons sesame oil
  • 16 oz (1 lb) package square wonton wrapper
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1/4 cup corn starch

Instructions

  1. Combine shrimp, ground pork, jicama, onion, oyster sauce, sugar, pepper and sesame oil in a bowl and mix well.
  2. To form the wontons into simple triangles, place about 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons of shrimp and pork mixture a bit off center on the wrapper. Brush the edges with beaten egg and fold the wonton wrapper over into triangles, while pushing the air out of the filling. Pinch the edges together to form a seal. You may also make them into fancy pleated pouches if you want to get your pleating skill on. Lightly dust each wonton with corn starch to prevent sticking and ripping.
  3. The wontons are ready for cooking. You can either boil, steam, pan-fry or deep-fry, and enjoy them as an appetizer with a vinegar soy sauce. You can also store some in freezer for a topping in Vietnamese Egg Noodle Soup (Mi Hoanh Thanh). To freeze them properly, place them in a single layer with Saran-wrap between layers to prevent sticking.