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Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce)

Ben Fink

Yield: Yields 1-1/2 cups.

Keep a jar of this sauce in the refrigerator; it will last for a month. You can find ground chile paste (my favorite is Rooster brand) and fish sauce at many supermarkets but always at Asian groceries.


  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 to 3 Thai bird chiles (or 1 small jalapeño or serrano chile), cored, seeded, and minced; more or less to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground chile paste; more or less to taste
  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. shredded carrots (optional)

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per Tbs.
  • Calories (kcal) : 10
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 0
  • Fat (g): 0
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 240
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 0


  • In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and fresh chiles to a paste. (Or mince them together with a knife.) In a small bowl, combine this garlic and chile mixture with the chile paste, hot water, and sugar. Stir well. Add the fish sauce and lime juice and combine. Float the carrots on top. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before using.


Rate or Review

Reviews (5 reviews)

  • SSCoUFS | 07/14/2011

    This is a really good basic recipe but there are few little tweaks you can give to this that will really make this sauce an everyday condiment for your table. For one, you can reduce the sauce a bit slowly adding brown sugar to thicken the sauce up, it can then work as a nice glaze for fried fish. Another option is to buy it ready made from restaurants. My website has more recipes as well come check it out http://www.getsauceynow.com. Check out the blog for recipe ideas and applications. Vietnamese food is really versatile and easy to make at home.

  • annie_o | 09/29/2010

    This is the best recipe for Nuoc Cham that I have tried. I make it just like the recipe calls but I cut the sugar in half.

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