Nuoc mau (Vietnamese caramel sauce)

Nuoc mau (Vietnamese caramel sauce) is an essential component to many braised dishes. The direct translation is "coloured water" and it adds deep color as well as a slightly sweet, deeply rich flavour to a dish. It takes only about 10 minutes to make.
The only trick is to monitor and make sure there's enough liquid to burn the sugar, without scorching it. If it seems too dry, simply add more water and stir again.

White sugar works best. After the caramel sauce darkens, add the meats and stir to let the sauce color the meats. Then add water and braise.

How to Make Nuoc Mau (Vietnamese Caramel Sauce) 

  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

  1. Heat pot to medium-high and add 2 Tbsp sugar to pot with about 1/4 cup water. (There should be just enough water that the sugar is all wet with a little extra water around it.)
  2. Stir until mixed and the sugar dissolved.
  3. the sugar will start to brown in about 10 minutes.
  4. When it becomes caramelized, add the meats and stir to color the meat. 

A little bit goes a long way, so that 2 Tbsp of sugar made enough caramel sauce for a 2- to 5-quart stock pot. Then add water and braise.