Nam Jim (or chim) is a traditional thai dressing (it translates literally as dipping sauce) but it makes an awesome dressing for salads, marinade for meats, cure for cerviche as well as all purpose dipping sauce (while I can't eat them - it goes amazeballs with fresh or battered oysters. It's charm is that to get it right you need to balance five of six flavours off against each other (the flavour we leave out is bitter) as well as other sensations such as fresh.
Sweet - Palm Sugar
Salty and Umami - FIsh Sauce
Sour - Lime
Hot - Chilli
Fresh - Corriander
How you combine these ingredients is up to you - we all have different palates. I'm a fan of excess so I go for an extremely sour, hot, sweet version but the great thing about this dressing is that you can shape it to your taste. If you don't like heat - pull back the chilli, if you find it too sour add more sugar. You get the picture.
I choose to chop the ingredients and then let them integrate for about 1/2 an hour but you can also use a motar and pestle to create a smoother result. As with pesto I don't like using the blender as the heat created can change the flavour of the coriander.
In a bowl combine the juice of three juicy limes (you know what I mean... those 1/2 ripe ones from the other side of the world are crap, expensive and don't yield enough juice to make them worth while), three teaspoons of fish sauce, a finely chopped shallot, three tablespoons of crushed palm sugar and one whole, finely chopped chilli (I use the seeds, you don't have to) and a small handfull of chopped, fresh coriander. Leave for 1/2 and hour and then use.
Here, I've used it to dress a salad of grilled beef, rice noodles, shredded lettuce, carrot, red pepper and sesame seeds.