There are so many delicious uses for Vietnamese Dipping Sauce–essentially the same as Thai Dipping Sauce–that I have it on hand in the fridge at all times.
I’ve experienced it numerous times over the years in Vietnamese and Thai restaurants. But it was in tiny Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen in Portland, Oregon that fondness finally turned to love.
At Luc Lac, sprightly Vietnamese Dipping Sauce is served alongside a heap of cool, chewy rice noodles topped with shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, fried garlic, cilantro, mint, lime, and roasted peanuts. I must have this dish at least once a week. Luckily, Luc Lac is walking distance from The OtherWorldly Kitchen.
But after a hard day at work, sometimes the last thing I want to do is eat out. So I have been compelled to develop my own version of this classic sauce and a dozen ways to use it.
Tonight for instance. I made rice bowls with steamed short grain Tamanishiki rice (wonderfully chewy); stir-fried ground pork with slivered garlic, fresh ginger, and green onions; steamed broccolini; shredded napa cabbage; cilantro; mint; and roasted peanuts. I served Spicy Vietnamese Dipping Sauce alongside. MauiJim asked for a second bowl and poured copious quantities of Nuoc Cham over each bowl. He wants a repeat for dinner tomorrow.
I think he’s in love too.
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)
LOVE LOVE LOVE this sauce. It’s loaded with umami and salt (fish sauce), which is balanced with sweet (sugar), tart (lime juice), and spicy (chile). Add garlic, and I am drinking it from the bowl. Literally.
If you are new to this rather pungent sauce, and you find it overpowering, just add a little more water/coconut soda/ginger beer. In fact, you can adjust any of the components to your own taste and even add minced fresh ginger for a change of pace.
1/4 cup premium fish sauce (Viet Huong Three Crabs brand)
1/4 cup hot water or room temperature Coco Rico (Puerto Rican coconut-flavored soda) or Bundaberg Ginger Beer (my favorite!)
3 tablespoons palm sugar or golden brown sugar, to taste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon minced red or green Thai chile (use disposable rubber gloves to mince this very hot chile)
2 cloves garlic, peeled, and minced or pressed (1 teaspoon minced)
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine fish sauce, hot water, palm sugar, and lime juice.
- Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add chile sauce and garlic.
- Taste the sauce and adjust flavor elements to taste.
Storage Note Store sauce in the fridge. It keeps for weeks IF you don’t take generous sips of it every time you open the door. Don’t ask me how I know this.
Makes ¾ cup.
More Asian-Inspired Recipes from LunaCafe
- Asian Potsticker Dough (for Jiaozi & Gyoza Dumplings)
- Asian Pancakes (Beijing Pancakes)
- Asian Tacos with Prawn & Shiitake Filling & Cabbage Slaw
- Chinese Cracker Jacks
- Chinese Good Fortune Cookies
- Home-Style Chinese Fried Rice
- Spicy Korean Noodle Soup (Jjambbong)
- Spicy Pork Wonton Soup
- Thai Red Curry Paste
- Thai Red Curry Soup
- Vietnamese Crispy Crepes (Banh Xeo)
Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)
- Gastronomy: Nuoc Cham – Vietnamese Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
- Mix Magazine: Asian Cooking: 5 Chefs Share Shopping Tips & Favorite Recipes
- Saveur: Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce)
- Sunday Night Dinner: Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)
- TasteSpotting: Nuoc Cham
- The Delicious Life: (obsessed with) Momofuku Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
- Wandering Chopsticks: Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
- Wandering Chopsticks: Nuoc Mam Cham (Vietnamese Fish Dipping Sauce)
- White on Rice Couple: Basic Vietnamese Fish Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)
Asian Markets in or near Portland, Oregon
- Uwajimaya (Beaverton)
- Oriental Food Value (Southeast)
- Fubonn (Southeast)
- An Dong Market (Southeast)
- Om Seafood (Southeast)
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Copyright 2013 Susan S. Bradley. All right reserved.