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Jeow Mak Len sauce in a bowl.

Jeow Mak Len Sauce

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Suwanee
  • Total Time: 25
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Diet: Low Calorie


Jeow Mak Len Sauce, a roasted tomato and herbs dip, is a delicious staple in Lao and Thailand's Isaan region (Northeast Thailand). The rich, smoky flavors from charring vegetables and herbs before mixing them into a thick, savory paste make this sauce addictive! Spiciness level adaptable!


  • 3 Roma tomatoes, about 2.5 cups. I tested cherry tomatoes and Roma tomatoes (from my garden), but use any tomatoes you have. 
  • 3 shallots  3.5 oz, sliced in halves for roasting and leaving the shells on while roasting. Peel off the charred skin before making the sauce. 
  • 1-10 Thai chili peppers. As needed for your taste buds. Use serrano, jalapenos, or any spicy peppers you have.
  • 7 garlic cloves. 
  • 2 teaspoon sugar. White, brown, or palm sugar works great for this sauce. 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt. 
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice. Add more at the end if it needs a more sour taste.
  • 3 teaspoon fish sauce. I used the Squid brand. Adjust as needed, as each brand's saltiness is different. 
  • 1 large stalk of green onions. Diced into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup cilantro. Diced into small pieces.


  1. Wash and dry the vegetables. Then, chop the vegetables and herbs for roasting. If using Roma tomatoes, remove the pits and slice the tomatoes into halves pieces. The same goes for shallots. Slice in halves and arrange the herbs on a wire rack. 
  2. Turn the oven to broiler mode. Place the rack of vegetables on the middle rack and broil for 8-10 minutes. The peppers and garlic will most likely be done first. And they burn quickly, so keep a close eye on those and remove them once they are charred. 
  3. Once the vegetables are charred, remove the rack and turn the oven off. Allow it to cool close to room temperature if possible. 
  4. Remove the shells of garlic and shallot and place everything in a food processor. Add the sauces, seasoning, and blitz until you have a thick tomato sauce. More if you like a more fine paste. I like textures and chunks in my sauce. 
  5. If using a mortar and pestle, pound the chili peppers and cloves garlic first until you have a smooth paste. Then add the rest of the ingredients, pound until smooth, then season with fish sauce, lime juice, and peppers. Having a large mortar is helpful for this method.

That's it! Taste and adjust the flavors with more fish sauce, lime juice, or herbs! Serve with any of your favorite foods!


  • When roasting, use toothpicks or bamboo skewers to thread the small chili peppers and garlic cloves. They tend to get lost through the racks or the grill grates if toasting them without the skewers. 
  • The peppers will roast the quickest, so keep a close eye on them. This is also why threading them in skewers or toothpicks is helpful. 
  • For the shallow and garlic, leave the skin on while roasting and remove before making the sauce. 
  • Adjust the level of spiciness by adding more or fewer chili peppers to the sauces.

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  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Category: Sauces
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Thai, Lao