Learning to make caramel is almost as important as making everyday fish sauce for Vietnamese Cuisine. For braised dishes, I typically just caramelize the sugar right in the pot I’m cooking with, but when I want to marinade meats I like to have a lot available. It’s fairly easy to make once you have the science down. You need to use hot water at the end not room temperature or else your sugar will just solidify. It’s also important to be very careful because hot sugar will splatter and you can easily burn yourself and anyone else standing nearby. When letting the sugar caramelize you let the sugar darken until it reaches the color you like. Anywhere from golden brown to a dark brown is good. For me, I prefer very dark brown. To reach my preferred color my sugar cooks on medium heat for about 23-25 minutes. Check out my video below for making Vietnamese Caramel Sauce!
Vietnamese Caramel Sauce, Nuoc Mau
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup room temperature water
1/2 cup hot water
1. In a pot on medium heat combine sugar and 1/4 cup water.2. Stir until there are no clumps of sugar.3. Let heat stirring every now and then.4. When the sugar turn dark brown or your desired color, carefully add in the hot water. 5. You may have to do this in two steps to avoid getting hit with hot burning sugar!6. Stir again, let cool, and transfer to jar.