Vietnamese Shrimp Paste Sauce Recipe (Mam Tom)

Vietnamese Shrimp Paste Sauce Recipe (Mam Tom) Recipe

As I promised earlier this week, here's the recipe for the condiment that traditionally accompanies the Northern Vietnamese dill fish dish. The dipping sauce is called mm tôm, which literally translates to "fermented shrimp sauce". It's made from fermented shrimp paste sauce (mm ruc, whose aroma smells very pungent), garlic, sambal oelek chile paste, sugar and freshly squeezed lime juice. The preparation is very similar to mm nêm, the dipping sauce used for b nhúng dm (Vietnamese beef fondue), except it doesn't contain pineapple. Both spicy sauces are very strong in taste, so if fermented paste is too overwhelming for your palate, you could ultimately use nước mắm chm (fish sauce) for a milder flavor.

Enjoy this authentic recipe!


Yields: ½ cup

2-½ tablespoons palm sugar, freshly grated
4 limes, freshly squeezed
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon fermented shrimp paste (mắm ruốc), to taste
1-½ teaspoons sambal oelek chile paste (see tips), to taste


In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in ¼ cup of boiling water. Let the water cool to room temperature. Add the lime juice. Mix in the garlic, mắm ruốc and sambal oelek chile paste.

The mắm tôm dipping sauce is ready to serve with chả cá thăng long (turmeric fish with dill).



You can find sambal oelek in any Asian market. If you don't have any, you could replace is with chile garlic sauce.

It's important that you wait until the water is completely cool to add the rest of the ingredients. Otherwise, you will end up cooking some of the ingredients.


Published By: Jacqueline Pham on July 16, 2011.


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