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After some questions and comments about the last few recipes, we are skipping a Cooking Mama lesson this week to share the lifeblood of Vietnamese cooking: Nuoc Cham

This sauce is key for many Vietnamese dishes like: vermicelli bowls, banh xeo, com tam, banh cuon, banh beo, goi ga, to name a few. And it is also used as a base for many marinades. You get it. We can’t live without it! It has umami from fish sauce, sweetness from sugar, tang from vinegar or lime, and spice from red chilies and fresh garlic. It needs to be mastered in order to get the taste right for many dishes…luckily it is super easy!

Every family has their own version. This is our family recipe: 1/3 cup fish sauce 1/3 cup white sugar 2/3 cup of hot water (Cold water can also be used but hot water will help dissolve the sugar quicker. Unless you would like to stir the Nuoc Cham sauce for 10 minutes - my childhood job in the kitchen) A splash of white vinegar or fresh lime juice ***We usually stop there as a base and then add these additional ingredients right before serving*** Lots of minced garlic and red chilies Some pickled carrot/daikon (do chua) if you have it Similar recipe:

Nuoc Cham is on the left side (before adding garlic and chilies). As you can see, we use a lot of it The jar on the right is just chopped red Thai chilies in vinegar to preserve them. You can also just freeze the chilies until you are ready to use them. Fish sauce is in aisle 3. Ready made Nuoc Cham is also available in aisle 3.


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