In this recipe, we will show you how to make nuoc cham chay, a vegan Vietnamese dipping sauce. This sauce is an alternative to nuoc mam cham, a classic Vietnamese dipping sauce traditionally made with fermented fish sauce.
Nuoc mam chay is perfect for vegetarians and vegans out there who craves and misses the taste of traditional nuoc mam cham, but wants a vegan-friendly alternative to fish sauce.
The best part is that it takes very little time to make, and only requires a few simple ingredients which you may already have in your kitchen. Even if you may not have some of these ingredients on hand, they can easily be found at your local Asian grocery stores, or even at big box stores and supermarkets.
This sauce is refreshing and robust with its savoury, salty, sweet, sour, spicy, and garlicky flavours. It will be a great addition to your vegetarian and vegan Asian dishes, and it will definitely open up your appetite.
I like to pair this sauce with my vegetarian summer rolls. It is such a heavenly match, giving the rolls that extra punch of mouthwatering flavour, brightening up the dish. Nuoc mam chay also pairs very nicely as a vinaigrette on some refreshing salads as well, and you can also drizzle it over chow mein.
What Exactly is Nuoc Mam?
Nuoc mam plays an essential part in many Vietnamese dishes and is often used with many of them. It is essentially the backbone of Vietnamese cuisine. If you’ve ever eaten at a Vietnamese restaurant before, you would know what I’m talking about. This is the sauce that gives soul to those dishes.
At Vietnamese restaurants, you would commonly see this dipping sauce being paired with many different kinds of Vietnamese dishes like spring rolls, grilled meat rice platters, and vermicelli bowls, which are often served separately in a small bowl on the side accompanying the dish.
In Vietnamese, nuoc mam can mean the dipping sauce that is made with fish sauce, lime, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and chili; or it can mean the bottled fermented fish sauce – the ones with the pungent fishy smell – that you would find at Asian grocery stores.
Difference Between Nuoc Mam and Nuoc Cham
It may seem that nuoc mam and nuoc cham mean the same thing, well not quite. Nuoc cham is a general term for “sauce” in Vietnamese. It can refer to any type of sauce, whether it’s fish sauce, soy sauce, hot sauce, etc.
Nuoc mam is a specific type of sauce made of fish sauce as mentioned before; therefore “nuoc mam” is a type “nuoc cham”.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- This sauce is refreshing and light.
- It is versatile and jam-packed with flavour. Can be paired with many different types of Asian dishes.
- Making this sauce is super easy, only requiring simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
- Incredibly cheap to make.
- Easily customizable to suit personal preference.
Nuoc Cham Chay Ingredients
So, what ingredients are needed to make nuoc cham chay? Well, this recipe is easy and only requires some simple ingredients like water, soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, and Thai chili.
Golden Mountain Seasoning soy sauce is used for this recipe as it has a slightly saltier taste than regular soy sauce, which helps make our dipping sauce a little more robust. This soy sauce is a popular substitute for fish sauce for a lot of Vietnamese people; however, you can use any other soy sauce or vegan fish sauce you prefer.
This recipe can be easily adjusted to suit your own liking. If you like your sauce a little bit more sweet, then add more sugar. If you like it more savoury and salty, then add a little more soy sauce. Like it tangier, then you know what to do. Just add in the adjustments little by little and taste test in between.
Rice vinegar is also used for this recipe, but if you don’t have it, you can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Nuoc Cham Chay – Vegan Vietnamese Dipping Sauce Recipe
- 1 Cup of Water
- 1/2 Cup of Soy Sauce
- 1/2 Cup of Sugar
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 2 Thai Chili
- 1/4 of Lime Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Of rice Vinagar
- Have your hot water ready, add in the sugar and mix until sugar is fully melted.
- Once sugar is fully melted, add in the soy sauce and mix.
- Cut your lime and extract the required amount of juice.
- Add the lime juice and rice vinegar into to sauce and mix.
- Smash and finely mince the garlic, and chop the chilies. Then add it into the sauce and mix.