Not to be confused with the sweet caramel sauce found in desserts.
Vietnamese caramel sauce is an essential character of Vietnamese cooking, perhaps only secondary to fish sauce. It has a slightly bitter toffee flavour. It is used in many savoury recipes featuring meat or fish, not to add flavours but to give the dish a delectable golden amber colour.
To make Vietnamese caramel sauce, melt 2 – 3 tbsp white sugar in a nonstick saucepan. Once it has turned an amber colour and starts bubbling, carefully pour about 2/3 cups of warm water into the saucepan and stir. Pour the caramel into a bowl or a jar and leave to cool.
You can make a large batch of caramel sauce and store it at room temperature for future use.