1 jar filled with a clear orange-red hued sauce flecked with minced red chilies and minced garlic

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham, Nuoc Mam Pha)

A mouth-watering savory fish sauce dressing laced with a kiss of sweetness, an explosion of umami, and a subtle kick of heat. This is extremely versatile and may be used as a dipping sauce or salad dressing.

1 jar filled with Vietnamese dipping sauce a clear orange-red hued sauce flecked with minced red chilies and minced garlic

What is Vietnamese Dipping Sauce?

This sauce is officially called nước chấm in North Vietnam and nước mắm (nước mắm pha) in Southern Vietnam. It is a dipping sauce that is made with a condiment that is made from fermented salted fish known as nam pla. The core ingredients for dipping sauce is fish sauce, water, garlic, birds eye chilies, and sugar. It functions by adding sweet, salty, and umami flavors to food.

Why This Works

Vietnamese dipping sauce may be made in less than 5 minutes with a few ingredients. It is super delicious and a quick way to add a flavor to a variety of dishes!

Are there variations?

The core ingredients for Vietnamese dipping sauce is fish sauce, water, garlic, birds eye chilies, and palm sugar. Although I’m providing specific measurements, the secret to making the perfect sauce is to adjust according to your taste buds.

Real palm sugar is difficult to source so can be easily replaced with coconut sugar, white granulated sugar, or agave.

The recipe may also accommodate different variations with grated ginger, fresh lemongrass, julienned carrots, or fresh herbs like cilantro or mint.

How do you eat nuoc cham?

Vietnamese dipping sauce pairs with any carb or protein but has no possibility of being overused! It makes rice disappear making it the ultimate rice thief. It is often served with the following dishes:

  • Bánh cuốn cold rice paper rolls filled with a mixed filling of and vegetables, served with slices of Vietnamese ham. These rolls are wrapped loosely into flat ribbons.
  • Bánh xèo, a pan-fried crêpe made from rice flour and coconut milk, and filled with pork, shrimp, onion and bean sprouts, and topped with herbs
  • Bún, plain rice noodles or rice noodles served with meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, or vegetables
  • Chả giò, fried spring rolls
  • Cơm tấm, a rice dish served with meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, or vegetables
  • Gỏi cuốn, cold rice paper rolls filled with pork, seafood, or vegetables
a white scalloped ramekin filled with Vietnamese dipping sauce a clear orange sauce with flecks of minced red birds eye chilies

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

A mouth-watering savory fish sauce dressing laced with a kiss of sweetness, an explosion of umami, and a subtle kick of heat.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 cups filtered water, hot
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, trimmed, peeled, minced
  • 2-4 red birds-eye chillies, trimmed, minced
  • 1 1 fresh lime, trimmed at both ends, halved, squeezed

Instructions
 

  • Add hot water, fish sauce, sugar, minced garlic, minced chillies, and lime juice into a jar. Stir until homogenous. Refrigerate and serve cold.
Keyword dipping sauce, dressing recipe, easy recipe, easy recipes, fish sauce, nuoc cham, nuoc mam, salad dressing, sauce recipe, vietnamese food, vietnamese sauce

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