3 tbsp white vinegar

2 tsp sugar

1 onion,thinly sliced

1 tsp salt

juice of 4 limes

9 oz sardine fillets

6 perilla leaves,sliced

6 fish mint leaves or green mint leaves,sliced

6 Vietnamese mint leaves,sliced

1 tsp Fried red Asian shallots

1 tsp ried Garlic chips

2 tsp Garlic oil

2 tbsp Nuoc mam cham dipping sauce (below)

1 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts

1 red chilli sliced


In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and 1 tsp of the sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the onion and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain the onion, discarding the liquid and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the salt, lime juice and remaining 1 tsp sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then add the sardines and leave to marinate for 10 minutes. The sardines will star to change colour as the lime juice stars to cure them.

Add all the sliced herbs, the pickled onion, fried shallots, garlic chips, garlic oil and nuoc mam cham and mix well.

Transfer to a platter. Serve garnished with the peanuts and chilli, and extra herbs if desired.


Makes about 1 cup

3 tbsp fish sauce

3 tbsp white vinegar

2 tbsp sugar

2 garlic cloves,chopped

1 red bird’s eye chilli,thinly sliced

2 tbsp lime juice

Put the fish sauce, vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Place over medium heat, stir well and cook until just before boiling point is reached. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.

Just before serving, stir in the garlic, chilli and lime juice. Store in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.


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