Nuoc Cham [Vietnamese Dipping Sauce]

Nuoc Cham is the ubiquitous dipping sauce and condiment of Vietnam.  Made of nuoc mam – the fermented sauce made of fish, which appears in most Vietnamese dishes and always set out on tables – chillies, garlic, lime juice and sugar, it is used to dip rolls of noodles, grilled meat, crepes and all sorts of other snacks and foods wrapped in lettuce and/or rice paper.

It can be tailor-made to your own tastes and preferences – hotter, sweeter, sourer – so experiment to find your favourite and create a sensational personal food experience.

. . . . . . . . . .


3 red chillies, top and tailed, then finely sliced on the diagonal

1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

5 tbs fish sauce [nuoc mam]

1 1/2 tbs fresh lime juice

3 tbs white sugar

2/3 cup warm water

2 tbs finely grated carrot, for garnish [if desired]

. . . . . . . . . .


Put two-thirds of the chillies into a heavy mortar [I have a gorgeous green granite one, weighs a ton but I love it so] with the garlic and sugar.  The remaining chillies are for garnish.  If you like more heat, leave more/most of the seeds in. 

Pound the chillies, garlic and sugar with the pestle to a rough paste.  You can of course use a food processor but only pulse for a few seconds as you want a rough consistency not a smooth paste; I use the short cut of my Braun a lot but prefer a mortar and pestle for this sauce.  Add the fish sauce, lime juice and warm water and stir well.   

Pour into a couple of small Asian sauce dishes, add the remaining chillies and the grated carrot and leave for about 15 minutes before serving for the flavours to develop.

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  • By Recipe Index « OTTERKAT on Sunday 29 June 2008 at 12:58 pm

    […] Nuoc Cham   [The Ubiquitous Vietnamese Dipping […]

  • By Recipe Index « OTTERKAT on Tuesday 11 October 2011 at 11:24 am

    […] Nuoc Cham   [The Ubiquitous Vietnamese Dipping […]

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