1 small, hot, red chile pepper, seeds and membranes removed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 fresh lime, juice and pulp only
4 tablespoons fish sauce*
2 to 4 tablespoons water, according to taste
* Also known as nuoc mam, it is available in finer supermarkets and Asian specialty
Purists insist that the garlic and chili pepper be ground together in a mortar
and pestle, although acceptable results can be obtained by processing all the ingredients
in a food processor. The traditional procedure is as follows:
Combine the garlic and chile pepper in a mortar and mash with the pestle until
a paste is formed.
Squeeze the lime juice into the paste, then remove the pulp from
the lime and add it to the mixture.
Mash to a paste again, and add the fish sauce and water, stirring to combine.