10 best vietnamese sauce for vermicelli recipes

A quick & easy recipe for Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham / Nuoc Mam) made with fish sauce, fresh lime juice, garlic, & sugar. Delicious with spring rolls, grilled meat, or vermicelli bowls!

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What is Nuoc Cham?

If you have never had Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham / Nuoc Mam) before, this is a light & refreshing garlicky dipping sauce with a balance of sweet, sour, and salty flavors with the use of fish sauce, sugar, và fresh lime juice (or vinegar) that goes amazing with a plethora of Vietnamese dishes.

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This Vietnamese dipping sauce is usually served with spring rolls (both fresh và fried), any type of Vietnamese grilled meats lượt thích Vietnamese sausages (nem nuong) và grilled lemongrass pork chops (thit heo nuong xa), và vermicelli noodle bowls.

Anyone who has tried & loved nuoc cham dipping sauce will probably have a personal preference for how they like it. Some people lượt thích it sour & tart, others lượt thích it a little more sweet or salty, and some like it super garlicky!

I personally like my nuoc cham slightly on the sweet and sour side with a good balance of garlic but the awesome thing about this sauce is, it is super easy lớn tweak lớn your personal preference by just adjusting the fish sauce (the salty), the lime juice/vinegar (the sour) and the sugar (the sweet).


Nuoc Cham (Nuoc Mam) Ingredients

Fish Sauce - The fish sauce is one of the main ingredients to lớn give this sauce its umami & salty flavor. I personally lượt thích to use Squid brand fish sauce (it doesn"t have squid it in, it"s just in the name) because it"s easy to find and it only has 3 ingredients - Anchovy, salt, and sugar. An alternative brand I like to use is Golden Boy fish sauce, which is a bit harder khổng lồ find but has a much stronger and saltier flavor. Keep in mind that each fish sauce brand has a different cấp độ of saltiness, so you need to adjust the recipe to lớn get it lớn the way you lượt thích it. If you are looking to make a vegetarian version of this sauce, you can use soy sauce in place of fish sauce.Sugar - This is one of the main ingredients that balance the sauce"s sweetness. You can use honey in its place if you don"t want to showroom sugar.Garlic - This sauce"s main flavor comes from garlic, so you cannot skip or substitute this ingredient.

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Lime - The lime is what gives this nuoc cham recipe its tartness. Alternatively, you can also use white or rice vinegar, or mix a bit of vinegar with the lime juice.Hot Water - The water helps combine all the salty, sweet, & tart ingredients together into a more balanced level. It also helps dissolve the sugar as well.Thai Chili Pepper (Optional) - Chili gives this Vietnamese dipping sauce a bit of heat. I like to use 1 bird eye chili, và that is plenty of spiciness for me without overpowering the sauce.Carrots (Optional) - I use shredded carrots in the sauce to lớn give it a bit of màu sắc to make it look nicer.

Should You Use Lime Juice or Vinegar?

Whenever I make Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham / Nuoc Mam), I personally lượt thích to use fresh lime juice because of the additional flavor fresh limes give it. It"s a bit more citrus & fruity flavor.

Keep in mind, most Vietnamese dipping sauces made at restaurants usually use trắng vinegar or rice vinegar, mostly because it"s a lot cheaper to produce & it"s quicker to lớn make, và there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

From time to lớn time I will also use vinegar as well when I am out of limes at home, but if you are looking for something closer to lớn what you get at a restaurant, then vinegar would be the ingredient you"d want lớn use for the tartness.

One of the main differences, I notice between using vinegar and fresh lime juice is the cấp độ of sourness và flavor.

Vinegar is slightly less sour compared lớn fresh lime juice, & lime juice has a slight fruity lime flavor. Use what you have on hand, or what your personal preference is! If you can"t decide between the two, you can mix và match both vinegar & lime!


Soak the Garlic in Lime Juice lớn Make it Less Spicy

If you have ever eaten anything that has raw garlic in it, you will notice that raw garlic can pack quite a punch and has a spicy kick to it.

Depending on how much you love garlic, you can actually tone that garlickiness down a notch by soaking it in lime juice for 15 minutes before combining the rest of the ingredients lớn make the sauce.

I learned this neat trick through Serious Eats - How lớn Tame Garlic"s Pungent Flavor. Ah, the beauty of food science!