Bang Bang Sauce

Juice of 2 juicy limes (sometimes they come dry, you know)
Fish sauce (nam pla)
Palm sugar (though brown sugar works in a pinch—or even plain white)
Fresh Thai chile, finely chopped
Garlic, grated on a Microplane
Finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

With those ingredients, you should get roughly ½ cup of the sauce, enough for a steak and maybe even a salad. I never measure the ingredients and always taste, taste, taste. What you’re looking for is a sauce that is bright and acidic from the lime, with an umami salt note from the nam pla, and a healthy burn from the chile (how much you add of the chile is entirely up to you and your preference for spice). I usually add an average size garlic clove, and enough sugar that it balances out the lime and the fish sauce. You don’t want it sweet, but you want the well-rounded note that the sugar will add. And right before serving, you want to drop in a teaspoon or so of finely chopped cilantro leaves. The acid in the sauce will turn the leaves brown if you let it sit overnight, hence you might want to add it just before you serve whatever it is you want to put bang bang sauce on, which, if you’re me, is just about everything.

© 2024 Olga Massov