Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

19 Apr

This dipping sauce, called Nuoc Cham, is spicy, tart, sweet and salty all at once and is an essential accompaniment to many South East Asian dishes particularly Vietnamese noodle dishes and spring rolls. I like to try to balance out all 4 flavours but you can easily make it so that it is sweeter, saltier, tarter or hotter to suite your taste.

  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely crushed
  • 2-4 fresh Thai red chilli’s (to taste) stalks and seeds removed, finely minced
  • 100ml (8 tbsp) hot water
  • 4 tsp sugar (palm sugar if you can get it)
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • Juice of 1-2 limes

Mix the sugar with the hot water and stir to dissolve. Add the garlic, chilli, fish sauce and lime juice. Leave to sit for at least half an hour before using.
NB this sauce can be kept in the fridge for about a month in a sealed jar.


  1. Float 2 tbsp of shredded carrots, or thinly sliced cucumbers
  2. Float thinly sliced spring onions or shallots
  3. Some recipes add rice vinegar you could add 3 tbsp for a more tart version.
Originally posted Mas du Diable 19/04/07

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