Nuoc Cham-Everyday Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Before delving into Vietnam’s savory dishes, I need to cover the nation’s ubiquitous dipping sauce: nuoc cham.  It’s served alongside just about everything from grilled meatballs to noodles to hand rolls.  If you’ve ever eaten at a Vietnamese restaurant, you’ve likely already tasted this liquid gold.  Made with fish sauce, lime juice, chile peppers and a touch of sugar, it’s hot, sour, salty and sweet done right.

There’s little that can’t be enhanced with a quick dunk into a bowl of nuoc cham.  I love it so much that I’ve been known to break tradition by just dumping the whole bowl of nuoc cham into my bowl of bun (one of my favorite noodle dishes), likely embarrassing my dining companions in the process.

I think you’ll love it too.

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Nuoc Cham- Everyday Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

* 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
* 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
* 3 Tablespoons sugar
* 2/3 cup water
* 1/3 cup fish sauce (most are gluten-free, but check to label to make certain)
* 1-2 Thai chiles or Serrano chile peppers, sliced into thin rings
* 2 cloves garlic, smashed with the blunt side of your knife, then minced

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Taste and adjust amounts, if necessary, to get your desired balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet. I like mine sweet and tangy with a bit of heat that lingers briefly on the lips.

Note: You can also grind the chiles, sugar and garlic using a mortar and pestle, if desired.

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3 Responses to “Nuoc Cham-Everyday Vietnamese Dipping Sauce”

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    1
    Eileen — June 28, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    I love all the sauces in pretty much every single Asian cuisine–so I'm eager to try this out! Thanks!

    Reply

    • CATE — June 29th, 2012 @ 8:08 am

      It's always hard to choose favorites… but this really might be mine :)

      Reply

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    Tam — December 9, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Hi Cate! I am so pleased I found your blog! Vietnamese and Thai cuisine are my faves, and nuoc cham is my absolute favourite sauce in the whole world! And Bun is what I always get at a Pho restaurant- almost everyone here in Canada goes there for Pho, but I simply cannot resist the textures and contrast of sweet/sour, etc. of bun thit nuong! I am going to try this one with meatballs, and I look forward to many more recipes from these regions in the future! Thank you!

    Reply

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