Nước Màu is a “caramel sauce” commonly used in Vietnamese dishes. It offers a sweet, bitter balance to salty, savory ingredients and is often used in braised dishes with pork, shrimp and fish.
You can find a prepackaged version of nước màu dừa in the condiment/sauces section of your local Asian grocery store but why buy it when it’s so easy to whip up at home? Plus, it’s cheaper to make and you know exactly what’s in it. No funky mystery items that can often pop up in pre-bottled stuff.
Nước Màu is typically quite dark in color but I prefer to make my version a bit lighter than others as I find it can be a bit too bitter for my taste. But you can cook down the sugar to whichever consistency you prefer.
Once made, you can jar up the nước màu and store until you get a hankering for some down home Vietnamese dishes.
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup boil water
Place the sugar in a heavy bottom sauce pan and cook over medium heat. Once the sugar begins to melt, swirl the pan around as it begins to bubble. Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a dark brown hue.
Carefully pour in the boiling water. The melted sugar will violently bubble and hiss at this point so take caution. Stir the liquids and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes as it continues to thicken. Pour the nước màu into a jar and allow to cool to room temperature. The nước màu can be kept for several months, unrefrigerated.