Mon Dipping Sauce (น้ำปลามอญ) by Ong Bunjoon
Recipe type: Condiment
Cuisine: Mon
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Nearly 2 cups
  • 3 large stalks lemongrass
  • ¼ cup fresh bird’s eye chilies, stemmed (or 2 red or green Serrano peppers, stemmed and roughly chopped)
  • 1 head garlic, separated into individual cloves and peeled
  • 3 small shallots (weighing about one ounce each), peeled and roughly diced
  • 2 sticks of fresh or frozen krachai, wild ginger, roughly sliced crosswise (or ¼ cup rinsed and well drained wild ginger slivers in brine)
  • ⅓ cup tamarind pulp (see post)
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar, packed (or 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • 3 fresh kaffir lime leaves, deveined and sliced into very thin strips (optional but highly recommended)
  1. Trim the tough leaves and the hard, knobby root ends off the lemongrass stalks. Slice them crosswise as thinly as you can, starting from the bulbous end, until the purple rings disappear (reserve the woody, fibrous parts for other purposes or simply discard them). Measure out ¼ cup of lemongrass slices to use here. (This means you may or may not use all 3 stalks, depending on how large and tender they are. It’s better to have more than you need, though.)
  2. Place the lemongrass slices along with the other ingredients, except the kaffir lime leaves, into a blender or a food processor. Blend until all of the ingredients have become roughly the size of a match head. (This step can be done in a mortar as well; just grind your fresh ingredients without the fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and tamarind, then mix them in later.)
  3. Do a taste test. The sauce should be equally salty, sour, and sweet. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Once that's done, stir in the kaffir lime leaves.
  4. The sauce should be used right away. But it can be stored in an airtight container and kept chilled for a week. (I figure it can also be frozen, though I have never done that and, therefore, can't speak about what freezing may do to the quality of the sauce.)
Recipe by SheSimmers at