Ginger-Chili Fish Sauce (nước mắm gừng)

Ginger-chili fish sauce showcases the spicy Thai bird chili, a small, slender chili about one to two inches long. It can be picked off the plant, green in color, or if you wait a little longer, orange or red, just like a bell pepper. They can be found in many grocery stores these days, but especially in Asian markets, where you can buy them in bulk and store them in your freezer.

This flavorful dipping sauce is matched wonderfully with poached chicken, sliced cucumber and jasmine rice, a dish simply called cơm gà (chicken rice) in Vietnam. You can either dip the chicken into the sauce or spoon it over your rice and chicken. The sauce, which has bold flavors of ginger, garlic and Thai bird chilies, is so good that I usually am asked to make more, to store in the refrigerator for later!

Ginger-Chili Fish Sauce (nước mắm gừng)

Recipe developed by Tram Le, MS, RD

2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic (from 2-3 cloves)
2 Thai bird chilies, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon fish sauce
Juice from 1 lime


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve with poached chicken or fried tofu, along with thinly sliced cucumber and jasmine rice.
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Tram Le
Tram Le, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian living in Annapolis. Read her blog, This Veg Life, and follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.