Early in the sixteenth century, chiles were transferred from Portuguese Brazil to their colony of Angola. These small, piquin-like chiles (which were probably Brazilian malaguetas) were called piri-piri (pepper-pepper) and became an integral part of the local cuisine. The sauce made from them was transferred back to Portugual, where it is a staple on dining tables--served with seafood, soups, and stews. Since the piri-piri chiles are not usually available, use chiles de árbol, cayenne chiles, chile piquins, or chiltepíns. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
This sweet and sour fish sauce dip is made spicy with chopped chilies and garlic, while fresh-squeezed lime or lemon gives it a sour edge. Called nuoc cham or nuoc mam cham in Vietnamese, it is the ubiquitous condiment of the Vietnamese table. Drizzle it over grilled meat set atop thin rice noodles tossed with shredded vegetables for refreshing fare, perfect for summer.