5 Minute Recipes/ Asian Recipes/ Condiments and Sauces/ Recipes/ Super Simple/ Vietnamese

Nuoc Mam Cham – Easy Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

18/06/2020

Enjoy the delicious salty-sweet-sour flavour of Nuoc Mam Cham as an easy Vietnamese dipping sauce or salad dressing. This flavour-packed condiment is ready in less than two minutes!

Bowlful of Vietnamese nuoc mam cham with chilli and lime in background.

Why We Love This

This sauce is super easy to make with ingredients you’re likely to have on hand if you love cooking Asian cuisine. Tweak the amount of any ingredient to get the flavour just how you like it.

It’s the perfect pairing with fried spring rolls or as a salad dressing for a chicken noodle bowl.

Dipping spring roll into Vietnamese dipping sauce.

What is Nuoc Mam Cham? 

Vietnamese Nuoc Mam Cham, also known as simply Nuoc Cham / Nuoc Mam, is traditionally used as a dipping sauce or salad dressing, but you can also use it bring extra oomph to other Asian dishes that would benefit from its sweet-salty-sour flavour profile.

What You’ll Need

All you need for this Vietnamese dipping sauce is water, fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, sugar, garlic and fresh chilli. We’ve made this recipe perfect for one serving or on a share platter, but it’s also very easy to scale it up to store for later or serve more people.

Ingredients for Vietnamese nuoc mam cham.

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a powerful, intensely flavoured ingredient ready to add a savoury flavour boost to your cooking. We usually have Squid Brand or Three Crabs fish sauce in the cupboard. You should be able to find fish sauce in the Asian aisle of your local supermarket, or at an Asian supermarket. Otherwise, it’s also available online.

If you need to substitute, we recommend using soy sauce, which is made from soybeans and wheat. It’s also a great alternative for vegans. 

Rice Vinegar

Like the name implies, this vinegar is made from rice through fermentation. Unlike regular white vinegar, it’s sweeter and less acidic. The varieties found at Asian supermarkets are usually Chinese or Japanese in origin and are fine to use for this recipe, or you can purchase online.

If you can’t find rice vinegar, you can substitute with apple cider vinegar. If you’re in a real pinch, you can use lemon juice or regular vinegar but both will alter the taste slightly.

How to make Nuoc Mam Cham:

Place all ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl.

Stirring the Vietnamese sweet and sour sauce.

Serve immediately.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • For the best flavour, serve immediately and at room temperature. You can also add more of any ingredient to suit your flavour preferences.
  • Use this sauce for dipping spring rolls, cold rolls, pork, chicken or seafood, as well as drizzling over rice dishes or noodle salads.
  • You can use hot water to help dissolve the sugar faster. Then allow to cool before serving.
  • Finely chop the chilli and garlic, so you don’t end up crunching on a large chunk!

FAQs

How long does Vietnamese dipping sauce last?

It should last up to around for a week when stored in the fridge.

How should you store it?

To keep it fresher for longer, always store nuoc mam cham in the fridge in an airtight container or bottle.

Is nuoc mam cham gluten free?

Yes, this dipping sauce is completely gluten free.

Variations & Substitutes

  • We love using the fiery small Thai red chillies in this recipe, but any hot chillies you have on hand will work perfectly. Just make sure to adjust the amount until you have the perfect spicy heat to suit your tastebuds.
  • For a vegan version, swap the fish sauce for soy sauce. (Optionally, make sure the soy sauce has no gluten to keep this recipe gluten free.)
  • You can use lemon instead of lime juice, this will only slightly change the flavour while still giving the sauce its classic sour flavour. You can also use bottle lime or lemon juice if that’s easier to source than the fresh fruit, although the flavour won’t be quite as zingy.
  • Some versions of this recipe are made with soda like lemonade or 7Up instead of still water.
Nuoc mam cham in white bowl with chilli and lime slices in background.

When it’s this easy to make and tastes sooo good, you’ll never want to buy store-bought dipping sauce again!

What to serve with this dipping sauce:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

Bowl of nuoc mam cham with freshly chopped chilli.

Nuoc Mam Cham – Easy Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Enjoy the delicious salty-sweet-sour flavour of Nuoc Mam Cham as an easy Vietnamese dipping sauce or salad dressing. This flavour-packed condiment is ready in less than two minutes!
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 1 bowl of dipping sauce
Calories: 33kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $3

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic finely chopped
  • 1 fresh chilli birds eye, finely chopped

Instructions

  • In a bowl, place in 2 tbsp water, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp lime juice, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp chopped garlic and 1 finely chopped chilli.
  • Stir gently and serve.

Video

Notes

Wandercook’s Tips
  • For the best flavour, serve immediately and at room temperature. You can also add more of any ingredient to suit your flavour preferences.
  • Use this sauce for dipping spring rolls, cold rolls, pork, chicken or seafood, as well as drizzling over rice dishes or noodle salads.
  • You can use hot water to help dissolve the sugar faster. Then allow to cool before serving.
  • Finely chop the chilli and garlic, so you don’t end up crunching on a large chunk!
FAQs
  • How long does Vietnamese dipping sauce last? It should last up to around for a week when stored in the fridge.
  • How should you store it? To keep it fresher for longer, always store nuoc mam cham in the fridge in an airtight container or bottle.
  • Is nuoc mam cham gluten free? Yes, this dipping sauce is completely gluten free.
Variations & Substitutes
  • We love using the fiery small Thai red chillies in this recipe, but any hot chillies you have on hand will work perfectly. Just make sure to adjust the amount until you have the perfect spicy heat to suit your tastebuds.
  • For a vegan version, swap the fish sauce for soy sauce. (Optionally, make sure the soy sauce has no gluten to keep this recipe gluten free.)
  • You can use lemon instead of lime juice, this will only slightly change the flavour while still giving the sauce its classic sour flavour. You can also use bottle lime or lemon juice if that’s easier to source than the fresh fruit, although the flavour won’t be quite as zingy.
  • Some versions of this recipe are made with soda like lemonade or 7Up instead of still water.

Nutrition

Calories: 33kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1416mg | Potassium: 52mg | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin C: 10mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks

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