Vietnamese Sweet & Spicy Carrot Sauce (Nuoc Cham)

This is that sauce you see served with spring rolls in Vietnamese restaurants and with a number of dishes in Thai restaurants. It was sent in by a reader/listener who did not add her name to the end of her letter (or I’d mention it). She says it keeps for a month in a refrigerated jar. You may use more or less of the chilis or chili paste, to your taste. I love splashing this stuff over anything from a hamburger to grilled fish to chicken.

Spring rolls with carrot dipping sauce

Spring rolls with carrot dipping sauce

  • 2 to 3 Thai bird chilis (or 1 small jalapeño or serrano chile), cored, seeded, and minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Thai ground chili paste
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (nuoc mam)
  • 2 Tbs. lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. shredded carrots
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

Bring 2/3 cup of water to a boil and add all the ingredients. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the contents into a clean, sterilized canning jar and screw the top down securely. Let it cool for an hour, then put it into the refrigerator.

Makes about a cup.

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