The Vietnamese dipping sauce, nuoc cham, is sweet, delightfully tart, salty, spicy and rich in umami due to the fish sauce. For the vegan version I use instead of fish sauce a less known alternative that is also very rich in umami: fermented chili- tofu.
You need 5 ingredients for this Vietnamese dip sauce
- Chili peppers
- Fish sauce or fermented chili-tofu for a vegan dip sauce.
Read more about this umami rich fermented tofu in Chinese Fu Yu here.
How to make the (vegan) nuoc nam?
Crush the first ingredients except for the liquids in a mortar. Add lime juice, pulp, fish sauce (or chili-tofu) and water. Taste and adjust if necessary for the right balance in salt, sweet and sour to your own taste.
Most recipes for this Vietnamese fish sauce only ask for juice. You can do the same. I like this sauce better with pulp.
Are you in a hurry? Then blend all the ingredients in a small food processor.
Use the nuoc cham as a dip sauce and as a dressing.
This versatile Vietnamese dip sauce goes perfectly with Vietnamese summer rolls. Look here for the tips on how to make the most delicious summer rolls yourself.
You can also use the sauce to mix with other sauces. For example, add a tablespoon of hoisin sauce to the nuoc cham and a teaspoon of ground peanuts for a spicy hoisin peanut sauce.
Stir the nuoc cham through a Vietnamese rice noodle salad as a dressing.
Or use the nouc cham to flavor steamed vegetables. Feel free to add a dash of extra virgin olive oil!
Easy To Make Vietnamese Dipping Sauce: Nuoc Cham
The Vietnamese dip sauce, nuoc cham (Nước Chấm), is sweet, fresh and sour, salty, spicy and umami-rich due to the fish sauce. For the vegan version I use a less well-known alternative instead of fish sauce that is also full of umami: fermented chili-tofu.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Total Time: 10 min
- Yield: 100 ml 1x
- Category: Sauce-Dressing-Side Dish
- Cuisine: Vietnamese
- 2 tbsp / 20 g of sugar
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1 or 2 small Thai chili peppers 1
- 1 half red chili pepper, optional 2
- 25 g lime juice with flesh-free pulp, about 1 juicy lime
- 3 tbsp / 45 ml of water
- 1.5 tbsp / 25 ml fish sauce or
- 1 cube of fermented chili-tofu 3 with 1/2 tsp of liquid from the pot and 1 tsp of salt
Auger or small food processor.
- Cut the flesh off the skin with a sharp knife and remove the fleeces. Collect the juice and flesh. If desired, you can also squeeze the lime and add the collected flesh to the juice.
- Crush the first 4 ingredients in a mortar until everything is well mixed. Add water, lime and fish sauce. Taste and adjust as required.
- If you use a food processor you can puree all ingredients at once. Taste and adjust as required.
- The Thai chili peppers can be found in the cooling department of the shop. After purchase, store them in the freezer if you are not going to use them quickly. 2 of these are enough to make the sauce quite spicy!
- Spanish pepper is for the beautiful colour. And it thickens the sauce. If you don’t find this important, you can leave them out.
Keywords: Vietnamese, nuoc cham, dip sauce, spicy, lime, chili, vegan, pepper