Smoky and Crunchy Peas With Creamy Nuoc Cham
No offense to the crunchy peas, but this recipe is all about the nuoc cham. A dipping sauce of fish sauce, lime juice, chile, garlic, and sugar, it varies across Vietnam; some are sweeter, some more savory. This one is less potent than the average and creamy thanks to toasted, buttery cashews. It clings to whatever you’re dressing. Here that’s snow peas, but you can also use it on salads, rice, eggs, or simple stir-fried greens.
⅔ cup raw cashews
1 red Fresno chile, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. snow peas and/or sugar snap peas, trimmed, some sliced some left whole
1 cup pea shoots (tendrils)
Lime wedges (for serving)
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast cashews on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until golden brown, 7–9 minutes. Let cool.
Purée cashews, chile, garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and 3 Tbsp. water in a blender, adding more water as needed to loosen, until smooth. Taste and season with salt if needed. (Even though the sauce includes salty fish sauce, it may need some added salt.) Set creamy nuoc cham aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high until almost smoking, add peas, season with salt, and toss to coat in oil. Cook peas, letting them get blistered underneath before tossing, until all of the peas are a little charred but still have their crunchy texture, 3–4 minutes.
Transfer peas to a platter and spoon reserved creamy nuoc cham over. Scatter pea tendrils on top and serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.