Zesty Vietnamese Lime & Ginger Sauce Recipe

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to present to you a true gem of Vietnamese cuisine: the Lime and Ginger Sauce recipe! As an expert in Southeast Asian cooking, I can confidently say that this tangy, spicy and slightly sweet sauce is one of the most versatile and delicious condiments you’ll ever taste. Not to mention how easy it is to make with just a handful of ingredients that are common in any kitchen.

This sauce can enhance any dish from grilled seafood to tofu stir-fry, from rice paper rolls to chicken salad or even as a dipping sauce for your favorite veggies. Its vibrant flavor and bright color will add a burst of freshness to your meals, leaving your family and guests licking their lips and asking for more.

In Vietnam, lime and ginger sauce is known as “nuoc mam gung”. The word “nuoc mam” means fish sauce while “gung” means ginger. This sauce originated from the coastal region of Vietnam where fresh seafood is abundant, and dipping sauces are essential for every meal. The people of Vietnam have perfected the art of balancing flavors in their cuisine, so this simple yet tasty sauce is no exception.

Nowadays it’s not hard to find a bottled version of nuoc mam gung at an Asian grocery store, but believe me when I say that there’s nothing better than making it yourself. Follow my steps, and I guarantee that you can make a tastier and healthier version using fresh ingredients without all the additives found in store-bought versions.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the ingredients list and get ready to experience the magic of Vietnamese cuisine with this fantastic Lime and Ginger Sauce Recipe!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vietnamese Lime & Ginger Sauce
Vietnamese Lime & Ginger Sauce

If you’re looking for a sauce with a tangy, fresh and spicy kick that will brighten up your meals, look no further than this Vietnamese Lime & Ginger Sauce recipe. I guarantee that this sauce will be the star of any meal and leave everyone asking for seconds.

First of all, the combination of lime, ginger, and chili make for a delicious burst of flavor. The tartness from the lime juice is perfectly balanced by the heat from the chilies and the freshness of the ginger. The result is a sauce that packs a punch while still being refreshing and light.

Secondly, this sauce is incredibly versatile. It can be used as a delicious dipping sauce for spring rolls or dumplings, poured over grilled meat or seafood as a marinade, or tossed with noodles for a quick and flavorful stir-fry. It’s also vegan-friendly, making it an excellent choice for those who follow a plant-based diet.

Thirdly, this recipe is easy to make with simple ingredients. All you need is fresh lime juice, finely chopped garlic and ginger, red chili peppers, fish sauce, and palm sugar. These ingredients come together to create an aromatic and flavorful sauce that will enhance any dish.

Lastly, this recipe offers plenty of room for customization or improvisation. You can adjust the spiciness level by adding more or less chili peppers or switch up the sweetness level with different types of sugar. The possibilities are endless!

Overall, you’ll love this Vietnamese Lime & Ginger Sauce recipe because it’s flavorful, versatile, easy to make, and customizable. Get ready to elevate your meals to the next level and impress your family and friends with this delicious dipping sauce!

Ingredient List

 Tangy lime and spicy ginger make this sauce the perfect condiment for any dish!
Tangy lime and spicy ginger make this sauce the perfect condiment for any dish!

Here are the ingredients you will need for this Vietnamese Lime & Ginger Sauce recipe:

For the sauce:

  • Fish sauce (nuoc mam): 1/2 cup
  • Palm sugar: 2 tablespoons or sugar (1 tablespoon of each: sugar and lemon/lime juice)
  • Fresh lime juice: 3 tablespoons or juice freshly squeezed from 1 lime
  • Garlic cloves: 2, finely chopped
  • Red chilies: 1 to 2, finely diced

For the ginger-lime mixture:

  • Fresh ginger: a thumb-sized piece, peeled and minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Fresh garlic cloves: 2, minced
  • Fresh lime juice: 2 tbsp
  • Water: 2 tbsp

The above ingredients make up the basic version of this sauce. However, there are many substitutions and variations that you can make to personalize this Vietnamese dipping sauce according to your preference.

The Recipe How-To

 This versatile Vietnamese sauce adds a zesty kick to your favorite foods.
This versatile Vietnamese sauce adds a zesty kick to your favorite foods.

Step 1: Prepping the ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 small red chilies, finely chopped (seeds removed if you prefer less heat)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated

Gather all the ingredients and prepped them beforehand. In Vietnamese cuisine, we call for “mise en place” which means having all the ingredients chopped and ready to go before cooking. This method helps ensure that everything goes smoothly and you won’t leave any ingredients out.

Step 2: Making the lime & ginger sauce

In a small bowl mix together:

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 3 tbsp lime juice freshly squeezed
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp fresh chili paste or 1 small red chili finely diced
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Stir well until everything is well combined. I like to use a whisk to dissolve the sugar and ensure that everything is evenly distributed.

Step 3: Adjusting the taste

Give your sauce a taste test, you can adjust it according to your preference. Add more fish sauce if you want it saltier, more sugar if you want it sweeter, or more lime juice if you prefer it tangier. This dipping sauce has a balanced taste of sweet, sourness and saltiness with a hint of spice from chilies.

Step 4: Serving and pairing

You can serve this Ginger Lime Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Gung) with various Vietnamese dishes such as spring rolls (Goi Cuon), grilled meat wrapped in rice paper rolls (Bun Cha), or sometimes drizzled over vermicelli noodles with grilled pork (Bun Thit Nuong). It’s also fantastic as a dressing on a chicken salad.

This dipping sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Give it a good stir before serving.


Substitutions and Variations

 Get ready to elevate your taste buds with this delicious lime and ginger sauce.
Get ready to elevate your taste buds with this delicious lime and ginger sauce.

Variations are the spice of life, and in Vietnamese cuisine, there are a lot of unique spices that can be swapped in and out. Here are some substitutions you can try with this recipe:

– Soy Sauce: If you’re looking for a less intense flavor, soy sauce can replace fish sauce.

– Chili Garlic Sauce: If you don’t have any red chilies or chili paste, chili garlic sauce is an excellent sub.

– Coconut Lime Sauce: For a vegan variation, swap fish sauce for coconut aminos and add lime juice for some tanginess.

– Ginger Chilli Lime Sauce: For an even spicier alternative, swap the red chilies for green chilies and add more ginger for flavor.

You can also use this sauce as a base and modify it to fit your liking. Try experimenting with different herbs like basil or mint. Instead of palm sugar, you could use honey or agave syrup as a sweetener. Add some lemongrass for another layer of flavor.

This dipping sauce is incredibly versatile and goes well with a variety of Vietnamese dishes like pork noodles or chicken salad. So go ahead and play around with it until it fits your taste!

Serving and Pairing

 A dollop of this sauce will go a long way in adding flavor to your meals.
A dollop of this sauce will go a long way in adding flavor to your meals.

You won’t believe the variety of dishes that this Vietnamese lime & ginger sauce can complement. It is a versatile sauce that goes perfectly with a wide array of recipes. Here are some suggestions for how to pair it.

The sauce works very well with seafood of all kinds. Try serving it as a dipping sauce alongside shrimp or prawns, as well as white fish fillets such as cod or tilapia. It adds just the right amount of tang to bring out the flavors of the seafood without overpowering it.

Beef and pork also pair wonderfully with this sauce. You can use it as a marinade for beef or pork, or simply use it in stir-fries or noodle dishes. The ginger and garlic flavors work especially well with red meat, and the sweetness from the palm sugar offers an interesting balance to the savory meat.

For a vegan dish, try pairing this sauce with stir-fried vegetables, tofu or even drizzled over coconut rice. The heat from the chilies, combined with the tanginess from the lime juice, makes for a refreshing companionship.

To serve your guests like a true Vietnamese chef, place the lime and ginger dipping sauce in a small bowl on every plate. You can also use it as a dressing for chicken salad or slathered over Vietnamese pork noodles, known as Bun Cha.

No matter what you do with this sauce, be sure to let its complex flavors take center stage. It has bold taste notes packed into its ingredients and blends harmoniously together giving rise to an explosion of flavor on your palate that will certainly enchant you!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Looking for a quick and easy way to spice up your dishes? Try this zesty sauce!
Looking for a quick and easy way to spice up your dishes? Try this zesty sauce!

Vietnamese Lime & Ginger Sauce is a versatile and flavorful dipping sauce that can be made ahead, stored, and reheated easily. The sauce can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

If you plan to make it ahead, let the sauce cool down to room temperature before transferring it into an airtight container. Place the container into the refrigerator once it cools down completely. Remember that sugar has a natural preservative quality, which will help extend the life of the sauce.

When you’re ready to serve, remove the container from the refrigerator and bring it back to room temperature. Then, reheat the sauce gently on low heat in a small saucepan until it reaches your desired temperature. Be careful not to overheat, or it’ll compromise the flavors of the sauce.

Another way to reheat the sauce is by microwaving it for 20 seconds on high heat. However, this method can make the sauce slightly watery, so keep an eye on it while reheating.

If you find that your sauce is too thick after refrigeration, you can thin it out by adding some water or lime juice based on your preference. If your recipe makes too much sauce, don’t hesitate to freeze it in small portions for up to three months.

Overall, Vietnamese Lime & Ginger Sauce is incredibly versatile and easy to store or reheat. Whether you’re using it as a dressing for chicken salad or a dipping sauce for pork noodles, this delicious ginger lime sauce will add flavor and depth to any dish!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Your taste buds will be dancing with the bold flavors of lime and ginger in this sauce.
Your taste buds will be dancing with the bold flavors of lime and ginger in this sauce.

To achieve the perfect Vietnamese Lime and Ginger sauce, there are a few key tips to keep in mind. Here are my recommendations for getting the best flavor and texture out of this tasty dipping sauce.

First, make sure to use freshly squeezed lime juice for the best taste. Bottled lime juice just can’t compare in terms of flavor. Roll the limes on your kitchen countertop before cutting them to help release more juice.

Next, don’t be afraid to adjust the flavors to your liking. If you prefer spicier sauces, add extra red chilies or chili paste. For a sweeter sauce, increase the amount of palm sugar. This recipe is versatile and can be adjusted to fit your taste buds.

When it comes to garlic and ginger, fresh is always best. Use freshly chopped garlic cloves and finely minced fresh ginger for optimal flavor. A garlic press can come in handy if you want to take your sauce to the next level!

Fish sauce is one of the critical ingredients in this recipe, but if you’re worried about its strong smell or salty taste, reduce the quantity listed in the ingredient list or substitute it with soy sauce for a vegetarian-friendly version.

Lastly, be patient when making the sauce. Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving so that all of the flavors have time to meld together. This will help create a balanced taste that’s not too sweet, sour or salty.

By following these tips, there’s no way you can go wrong with your Vietnamese Lime and Ginger Sauce!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Vietnamese Lime & Ginger Sauce recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves Asian cuisine. Not only is it easy to make, but it is also versatile and can be used as a dipping sauce, marinade or dressing, making it an essential ingredient to have in your kitchen.

By following the simple steps outlined above and using the recommended ingredients, you are guaranteed to create a flavor-packed sauce that will elevate any dish. And if you’re feeling adventurous, don’t be afraid to experiment with some substitutions and variations to make it your own.

So whether you’re looking to add some zing to your favorite meals or impress your friends and family with a delicious dipping sauce, give this Vietnamese Lime & Ginger Sauce recipe a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Vietnamese Lime & Ginger Sauce

Vietnamese Lime & Ginger Sauce Recipe

Delicious lime and ginger sauce for use with Vietnamese Shaky Beef.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 42 kcal


  • 2 1/2 cm fresh gingerroot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 2 small red chilies, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lime, divided into segments
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce


  • * Put the garlic, sugar, chilies and garlic into a mortar and pound until well blended.
  • * Add the lime segments and pound again until the mixture is as smooth as possible.
  • * Stir in the fish sauce. If you like, you can use a small food processor instead of a pestle and mortar.
  • * This sauce will be good for 10 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 56gCalories: 42kcalCarbohydrates: 10.5gProtein: 1gFat: 0.1gSodium: 697mgFiber: 0.8gSugar: 7.9g
Keyword < 15 Mins, Sauces
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