Peanut Dipping Sauce


Can you have Vietnamese Spring Rolls without peanut dipping sauce? Of course not. They’re perfect complements. In economics, a perfect complement is a good that has to be consumed with another good. Check out this huge illustration.


Here’s the utility function for these two perfect culinary complements. For every unit of spring roll eaten, you need one unit of peanut sauce. They’re consumed together in fixed proportions (i.e., each bite of spring roll needs the same one dip of peanut sauce). According to the graph, I must give you more sauce if I give you more spring rolls so that your total satisfaction is unaltered. Follow the arrows: your satisfaction level can be raised if I simultaneously increase the number of units of spring rolls and peanut sauce in fixed proportion. If I do so, you — my dear consumer — will reach a higher L-shaped indifference curve.

Click here for the recipe for ‘Peanut Dipping Sauce’

Cool, huh? Did I make my point? Spring rolls and peanut dipping sauce are inseparable. You make one, then you must make the other! I probably would’ve paid more attention in school had my professors used more culinary references in economics. Then I really would’ve been a full-thyme student in college rather than an ordinary full-time student.

There’s your academic lesson for this Friday. Now feel free to slack off this weekend and make  Vietnamese Spring Rolls with this delicious sauce. Luckily for you, I’ve nailed making this sauce in about 3 minutes and I’m gonna show you how to make it. I have two recipes — one for those people using microwaves and one for those without microwaves.

Here’s what you need:


Hoisin sauce, peanut butter (smooth or crunchy works), sriracha sauce, and water.
You: “Is that all!?”
Me: “Yes.”
Don’t believe those other recipes online(with lime juice, sugar, and other strange things). My mother approved this recipe, and that means it’s pretty damn authentic. If you’re feeling really, really traditional, you can grind your own peanuts like they do in Vietnam.


In a small bowl, add 3 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, and 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce.


Like some spice? Add sriracha sauce. As much as you like. Start with a teaspoon.


Mix, mix, mix.


That’s about as mixed as it’ll get. So…


…you gotta microwave it to melt the peanut butter and other ingredients together.


That’s what it looks like after. Don’t go too crazy with the microwave. The sauce will explode.


Add some water (start with a tablespoon) to thin out the sauce to achieve a dippable consistency.


Ta-da. The perfect complement to Vietnamese spring rolls.

If using microwave:

If no microwave:

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