Vietnamese Seafood Lime/Lemon, Salt & Pepper Dipping Sauce (Muoi Tieu Chanh)
It’s crab season! Woot! Woot!
It gets even better you have a friend with a fisherman husband. I was able to score five large and meaty crabs and boy were they tasty! Thanks, Tina & Thomas for giving me crabs ;-)
I had so many ideas for the crabs but eventually I simply steamed them for a quick and delicious (although bit messy) dinner. This served me well as I’m in the process of moving, selling my house, transferring kids to new schools, and settling in a place far from all things familiar. I haven’t had much time to cook so steamed crab over steamed white rice was more than perfect.
My favorite part of steamed crab is the crab tomalley in the body cavity. Lots of people stray away from the crab tomalley … you know, that fatty, soft, yellow, orange, green substance when you pull the crab apart. Despite the awful look, that’s all flavor! I like to spread that creamy gooey goodness over rice for a more filling meal.
For the dipping sauce, there’s no butter here. A traditional and simple Vietnamese dipping sauce for seafood is salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime or lemon. I also like to add a bit of MSG-or-the-horrible-scientific-word-Monosodium-Glutamate-when-it-should-be-simply-called-seasoning-salt-because-the-taboo-behind-MSG-is-stupid for a more savory and well-rounded flavor.
Note: Crab is naturally salty, so you don’t want to use a lot of salt for the dipping sauce. Also, get the good salt! Coarse sea salt is the best. Table salt like Morton should never be used in a dipping sauce or anywhere in the kitchen.
Recipe below. Enjoy!
Vietnamese Seafood Lime, Salt & Pepper Dipping Sauce (Muoi Tieu Chanh)
- 2-3 teaspoons lime/lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon course sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (you can also use ground white pepper for a stronger flavor)
- 1/8 teaspoon MSG (pinch; optional)
- In a small sauce bowl, mix together all the ingredients.
- For a more elegant presentation, place salt and pepper in a sauce bowl along with fresh lime/lemon wedges so that the diner can add as much or as little lime/lemon juice as preferred.