Vietnamese Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce

Vietnamese-Nuoc-Cham-SauceHow making fresh pumpkin puree got me to prepare Vietnamese Nuoc Cham Sauce is like six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.

A) Can’t find Libby’s canned pumpkin.  B) Buy fresh pumpkins, roast and puree. C) Cook some sweet things with the puree, burn out, a good supply still in the freezer. D) Decide to make Pumpkin Soup. E) Larry crinkles nose.  S’cuuuuze me.  F) Having been to Asia six or seven times, I choose Vietnamese Pumpkin Soup; ought to get Larry approval. G) Google, find numerous Asian flavored soups, so I combine several to match what we like eat, notice one ingredient: Nuoc Cham Sauce. H) We live in ethnic hot pot LA, yet Ralphs has no Nuoc Cham. I) Decide to make the damn sauce so I can make the yummy soup. Easier than imagined!

So, here is Nuoc Cham Sauce. Make some spring rolls and start dipping.

Vietnamese Nuoc Cham Sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 4 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup water

Whisk together in a bowl.  Makes 1 cup sauce.

Vietnamese-Lanterns Handmade lantern stand in Hoi An, Vietnam, Christmas 2008.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa Lyons October 30, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Patti, nice seeing you on Monday! Re this recipe – so you had no Nuac Cham but did have fish sauce in your pantry? I would have to buy some and would probably find it ready made at my local Jon’s Market. Could you substitute anchovy paste instead? If so, how much? Love to Snidely and the kitty.
Patti comments: Yes, I had the fish sauce. I’ve never used anchovy paste, however. Fish sauce comes in handy for flavoring my noodle bowl soups.

2 Kelly October 26, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Your thought process reminds me a lot of mine. I love Vietnamese nuoc cham and had no idea how easy it was to make. I live alone, but I’m guessing if my boyfriend lived with me he would have OD’ed on apples because I picked far too many this year and have been putting them in everything.

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