Here in New York it already feels like the beginning of fall. The mornings are crisp and the evenings are cool. There were a couple days of rain, but overall I’ve really been enjoying the weather. However, despite the cooler temperatures, it is officially still summer. So to celebrate the last few weeks of bright sunny days, I thought I’d share with you a nice refreshing dipping sauce.
The recipe comes from a cookbook called Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson with Lindsey Bareham. Hopkinson is a well known British chef and food writer. In 2005 this book was given the title of “most useful cookbook of all time.” I bought Roast Chicken about a year ago and read it during commutes on the subway. The cookbook is resourceful but also exceptionally entertaining. Throughout the pages, Hopkinson shares little anecdotes and thoughts that allow a greater appreciation for food. The chapters are divided according to ingredient and the beginning of each section is adorned by witty illustrations by Flo Bayley. I have yet to read his follow up book Second Helpings of Roast Chicken but am sure it is just as delightful as the first.
I’ve made a few of the recipes in this book, but none can be easier than the cilantro dipping sauce. It is Vietnamese inspired and goes well with everything from vegetables to seafood to meat. The author mentions pairing the sauce with fried foods such as shrimp, fish, onions, eggplant, and calves brains. I have yet to find the guts to eat and cook with brains so I opted for a simpler, possibly slightly more boring grilled chicken. However, paired with the tangy, sour, and sharp brightness of the dipping sauce, the chicken was anything but boring.
Tangy Asian Dipping Sauce
Adapted from Roast Chicken and Other Stories
Small bunch of cilantro, leaves only
6 mint sprigs, leaves only
4 small garlic cloves
4 small green chillies, seeded
1 tablespoon sugar
Juice of 5 limes
8 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1/2 cup cold water
Finely chop all ingredients and mix together. Serve with grilled chicken.
Note: If serving for less than 4 people, halve the recipe.