Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham Recipe)


Sweet and tangy, you only need a few simple ingredients to make this delicious Vietnamese Dipping Sauce, also known as Nuoc Cham, at home! A staple in Vietnamese cuisine, this sauce goes with everything from pork chops to spring rolls!

You don’t need a lot to make this classic Vietnamese dipping sauce. It’s full of flavour, goes with everything, and easy to make. You pretty much just stir everything together. It gets its salty and umami flavour from the fish sauce, the sweetness from the sugar, and wonderful tang from the fresh lime juice. Plus, you get a nice kick of heat from the chili peppers. Add as much or as little as you like.

A small bowl of nuoc cham in a plate of food.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • You can serve this dipping sauce with anything to everything. I’m serious. H will just use it on pretty much anything if this is in the fridge.
  • It’s so flavour. Sweet, bright, spicy, salty, tangy, and packed with umami. What’s not to love?
  • Not using this fast enough? It’s not just perfect for dipping, but you can marinate meat in it as well. Add some shallots and lemongrass and you’ve got yourself some classic Vietnamese flavours.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • water — you will need hot water to help the sugar dissolve. I usually start boiling some water in advance when making this nuoc cham recipe.
  • sugar — I use white granulated sugar. Nothing fancy!
  • fish sauce don’t be scared off by fish sauce. This adds a savory umami element that is difficult to replicate. While I’m not a huge fan of how it smells straight out of the bottle, you don’t notice it once it’s mixed together with the rest of the ingredients.
  • lime — fresh lime juice is best. My mom never used bottled lime juice to make nuoc cham. You’ll need 2 limes!
  • garlic — in my opinion, the more garlic, the better! Don’t use the pre-minced jarred garlic. The flavour is just not there. I usually mince fresh garlic in advance and freeze it so I can just bring out a tablespoon as needed.
  • red Thai chili peppers — you can add as much or as little as you’d like based on how spicy you’d like the sauce.

How to Make Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)

  • Combine the hot water and sugar. Stir to dissolve.
  • Add the fish sauce and stir.
  • In a large mason jar, combine the minced garlic, red Thai chili peppers, fish sauce mixture, and lime juice. Stir until well combined.
  • Allow the dipping sauce to come to room temperature before chilling. Serve chilled.
Overhead view of vietnamese dipping sauce in a jar.

Recipe Tips and Notes

  • I give everything a good mix or shake before serving to help the garlic and peppers distribute evenly throughout the sauce.
  • For some extra tang, you can add a splash of rice wine vinegar. Make sure it’s unseasoned.
  • Sometimes when I’m feeling a little extra fancy or have a carrot on hand, I finely julienne up to half a carrot and add it to the Vietnamese dipping sauce before serving. It adds some texture and a tiny bit of extra sweetness.
  • In a rush and don’t want to let the sauce chill? You can dissolve the sugar in a bit of hot water and then use filtered cold water to top up the total amount of water.
  • You can hold off the fish sauce and add it last in increments and taste it as you go if you’re not sure how strong you’d like for this nuoc cham to taste.
A mason jar filled with vietnamese dipping sauce.

Make Ahead Tips

  • Once cooled, store the Vietnamese dipping sauce in a mason jar for up to 1 week in the fridge. It’s best enjoyed as soon as possible as it’ll taste more fresh, bright, and tangy, but it’ll still be delicious over time.

Serving Suggestions

Here are some of my favourite recipes to serve with this nuoc cham recipe.

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Overhead view of vietnamese dipping sauce in a jar.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)

Sweet and tangy, you only need a few simple ingredients to make this delicious Vietnamese Dipping Sauce, also known as Nuoc Cham, at home! A staple in Vietnamese cuisine, this sauce goes with everything from pork chops to spring rolls!


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Rate

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 0 mins

Cool Time: 1 hr

Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins

Servings: 7 servings

Ingredients

  • cup hot water
  • 1 cup sugar, or 2-3 tbsp more, if you prefer it sweeter
  • 1 cup fish sauce
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 red Thai chili peppers, chopped finely
  • 2 limes, juiced

Instructions

  • Combine the hot water and sugar. Stir to dissolve.

  • Add the fish sauce and stir.

  • In a large mason jar, combine the minced garlic, red Thai chili peppers, fish sauce mixture, and lime juice. Stir until well combined.
  • Allow the dipping sauce to come to room temperature before chilling. Serve chilled.

Tried this recipe?Did you make this recipe? I’m always so happy to hear about it! I’d love to see how it turned out. Tag me at @CarmysHungry on Instagram so I can see it! If you enjoyed the recipe, I’d really appreciate a comment with a 5 star rating! ♥

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.004g | Sodium: 2603mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 24IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Author: Carmy

Course: Sauce

Cuisine: Vietnamese

More Vietnamese Recipes

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