Nuoc Cham

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Balance and Harmony

By Neil Perry

Published 2008

  • About

This Vietnamese dressing is great in all the dishes where you could also use Nam Jim; its taste is softer but equally seductive. Again, like all these sauces, taste for balance and find a flavour that suits your palate.

This dressing, as well as being great as a dipping sauce and in stir-fries, also suits something like a barbecued chicken or fish β€” slice the meat, add some herbs and pour the dressing over. Serve with rice and boiled greens and you have a great Asian lunch for two or three people. Not a bad place to begin if you are starting out in the brave new world of Asian flavours.


  • 2 long red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar (jaggery)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar


Pound the chillies and garlic in a mortar with a pestle to a fine paste. Add the sugar and stir to blend. Slowly stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, rice vinegar and 3 tablespoons water until completely incorporated.