One important element of Vietnamese cuisine is nuoc cham or a Vietnamese dipping sauce. Nuoc cham is a fish sauce based dipping sauce that deftly balances sweet, salty and sour aspects and it is really easy to make at home. The basic recipe includes fish sauce, water, sugar and lime juice and chilies and garlic are often added as well. The few minutes that it take to make your own nuoc cham are definitely worth is and when you make your own, you can make it with your prefect balance of sweet, salty, sour and spicy.
Nuoc cham is served with many different dishes including summer rolls .
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)
A Vietnamese fish sauce based dipping sauce.
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 birds eye chili, chopped
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 lime, juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Mix everything.
Crab Summer Rolls with Cashew Butter Dipping Sauce
Grilled Lemongrass Chicken
Vietnamese Summer Roll Salad
Bánh Xèo (Savoury Vietnamese Crepes Stuffed with Shrimp and Mushrooms)
Lemons and Anchovies says
This is one of my favorite dipping sauces; it goes with everything!
Divya Yadava says
So simple yet it sounds fabulous. Well balanced flavours!
thank you for this one!
i have been looking for a good dipping sauce for the shrimp rolls.
birds eye chili's are hard to find here, whats a good replacement?
I love this Nuoc Cham! Vietnamese food is one of my favorites!
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
So easy and tasty! Another one I've put away for the summer.
I'm Vietnamese and I used nuoc cham for almost everything LOL.
vanillasugar: I sometime use sriracha or sambal oelek in a pinch but if you prefer fresh chilies, red jalapenos or red chilies de arbol would work.
Kevin, in Vietnam we don't use lime juice and vinegar together. Actually, people from the north add vinegar to nuoc cham(for Bun cha(grilled pork with noodle), people from the south only use lime juice and this kind of nuoc cham go well with banh xeo, goi cuon and a lot of dishes. We just simply don't mix vinegar and lime together.
I made this to go with the Grilled Lemongrass Chicken and it was simply AMAZING. Absolutely delicious and all the flavours were very well balanced. I do however have one question; I have a lot of the Nuoc Cham remaining and hope to use it again, how would you recommend storing it? Should I freeze it, or would the fridge be sufficient? And approximately how long is its storage life?
Thank you 🙂
Anonymous: I normally store it in the fridge when I plan on finishing it in the near future, say a week or two. Beyond that I would use the freezer.
Em: Thanks for the tips!
My Mom taught me how to make this nuoc mam cay, fyi. nuoc cham is a northerner's term, in the south it is "nuoc mam cay" -word-2-word translation: water, ferment fish, (pepper)hot- for this portion of 1/4 cup fish sauce, I'd use at least 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped to a paste, and replace the warm water with the now very trendy coconut water.
can you please help with how to make the sauce that is put in lunch shop Vietnamese bread roll meat with carrot and cucumber in many shops in western Adelaide, South Australia. It is superb. They spread a white paste and then squeeze a clearer sauce over the lot.
Great sauce, I've been struggling with mine and its my new favourite!