The Thai dipping sauce Nam Jim Jaew recipe (without sugar) is a popular Thai dipping sauce used for grilled meats or as a dressing for salads. This Nam Jim Jaew recipe without sugar is easy to make, using tamarind, fish sauce, lime juice, shallots, cilantro, chili flakes, and toasted rice powder.
To compliment Nam Jim Jaew sauce, make the best crying tiger recipe to pair with it. Then be sure to read up on how to make purple sticky rice and Lao green papaya salad recipe to make it a complete meal!
What is Nam Jim Jaew?
Nam Jim Jaew is a spicy Thai dipping sauce with chilli flakes, tamarind paste, lime juice, shallot, garlic, cilantro, and a sweeter of choice. This sweet chili sauce is not complete until the sticky rice powder is added at the end for the extra crunchy earthly flavors. The perfect blend of salty, sour, sweet, and tangy tastes, mixed with fresh ingredients, makes this one of the most addictive sauces in any Southeast Asian cuisine. If you are a fan of Thai food, you know how delicious this flavorful sauce is.
Why this Recipe Work?
- This healthy Nam Jim Jaew recipe uses honey instead of sugar so that you can enjoy it guilt-free!
- Using honey in the Nam Jim Jaew recipe is much healthier because processed white sugar, palm sugar, or brown sugar is typically used in many traditional recipes.
- Nam Jim Jaew's recipe is a perfect sauce for all types of meat, seafood, or poultry and can be used on grilled, baked, or roasted meats. This sauce is a perfect balance of tangy, sweet, and sour. It is the best dipping chili sauce to have at any dinner party or BBQ.
- It is one of the best Thai sauces to use for EVERYTHING. Try dipping it with fresh vegetables, rolled-up glutinous rice, or as a salad dressing. Some Thai dishes for pairing with this yummy sauce are Gai Yang (Thai grilled bbq chicken), crispy pork belly, Thai-style pork ribs, Pieng seen Naam Tok (beef waterfall), Thai sticky rice, and jasmine rice. If you want bold flavors with a little red chili taste, this is the one.
- This recipe is quick and easy to put together, and the ingredients are not difficult to find. The sauce can be ready to serve in about 15-20 minutes.
- Nam Jim Jaew sauce is also great for a healthy salad dressing over steamed or roasted vegetables. Essentially, there's no limit to how Nam Jim Jaew can be used.
Ingredients to Make Nam Jim Jaew Recipe without Sugar
To make the perfect Nam Jim Jaew sauce using honey, you'll need a few simple ingredients to put it together. Below is a photo of all the ingredients to make this delicious Thai condiment.
- Roasted rice powder: Toasted rice powder, or Khao Kua, is the key ingredient for making Nam Jim Jeaw. Don't omit this special ingredient as it is very important. I have a very easy toasted rice powder recipe for you to follow below. Check out my step-by-step guide on how to make your toasted rice powder. Toasted rice powder, Khao Khua.
- Fish sauce: the quality of the fish sauce for this recipe matters very much. I used the Three Crab brand fish sauce. This brand is less salty and pungent than the other brands I've used when cooking Thai food. It's a great fish sauce for dipping sauces like Nam Jim Jaew. Suppose you can't find the Three Crabs brand fish sauce in your local Asian grocery stores. You can substitute it with another fish sauce brand, The Red Boat or Megachef. The Squid brand fish sauce is slightly too strong for the dipping sauce.
- Honey: My Nam Jim Jaew recipe uses honey instead of sugar. Use your local honey if possible. If you have seasonal allergies like me, using local honey is key to combatting pesky sensitivity to pollen and irritants.
- Lime juice is also important for this recipe. It adds the sourness that adds that layer of flavors to Nam Jim Jaew. See the picture for what to look for when you go to the Asian market to buy tamarind. I have two very helpful blog posts on what tamarind is as well as how to make your tamarind sauce at home. Follow these links to read up on it. What is tamarind? How to make your tamarind sauce.
- Green onion or spring onion. The white stems and leafy part.
- Cilantro or fresh coriander.
- Chili flakes. The spicy flavors come from the chili flakes. Chili powder could work, but the texture will be better than flakes.
- Tamarind concentrate: Sometimes are labeled tamarind pulp, sauce, or concentrate. It adds a sweet and tangy taste to the sauce.
How to Make Nam Jim Jaew Recipe Using Honey
Making Nam Jim Jaew is quick and easy. Below are the step-by-step instructions, in photos, to help you put this amazing Thai chili dipping sauce together in no time.
Step 1. Start with uncooked rice. On medium-low heat on the stovetop, toast the uncooked rice in a dry pan until the rice is golden brown. Be careful with the heat level for this step, as the rice tends to cook fast after it browns. Let the rice cool to room temperature. Use a spice grinder to grind the rice into a coarse powder. Set aside for a minute. More detailed instructions on how to make Toasted rice powder.
Step 2. Finely chop all the fresh herbs and place them in a small bowl.
Step 3. Warm the honey in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until it turns runny. Let cool, then pour the honey into the bowl with fresh herbs. Stir well.
Step 4. Add fish sauce, lime juice, water, tamarind puree, and chili flakes.
Step 5. Stir everything together, taste, and adjust the flavor with more lime juice, fish sauce, or water.
Step 6. Lastly, add the star ingredient and the toasted rice powder, and mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You can add 1-2 tablespoon of water if the sauce is too thick.
Step 7. Place the sauce in a serving cup, and that's it. So quick and easy and so delicious! Enjoy!
Helpful Kitchen Notes
- You can also use fresh Thai chilis but cut them into very small pieces.
- These brands of fish sauce are great for this recipe. Three Crabs, Red Boat, and Megachef (a lesser-known fish sauce) are my favorites. They are light and sweet, and have the perfect balance of salty and umami flavors.
- If you have extra rice powder, store it in an airtight container and keep it in the freezer for future use. The freezer keeps it fresh for months at a time!
- Use Nam Jim Jaeow to dip bland sticky rice, vegetables, meat, or salads. It's perfect for everything!
What can I use Nam Jim Jaew sauce on?
Use this sauce on EVERYTHING, like grilled meats, or a popular choice, as a dipping sauce. You can also drizzle the sauce over raw or cooked vegetables. I've gathered this crack sauce over Jasmine or sticky rice. Try it. It's simply amazing!
What does Nam Jim Jaew taste like?
This Thai dipping sauce has all the flavors that Thai cuisine is known for, which are sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and umami. The toasted rice powder adds a nutty toasted flavor with a slight crunch. The flavor of this sauce is like an explosion in your mouth that will surely bring you back to the Isaan region of Thailand, where this sauce is frequently used in all of the Isaan cuisines.
How long can you keep Nam Jim Jaew sauce?
Like all food, fresh is best. Nam Jim Jaew will keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. The rice powder will expand and gets soggy in the sauce the longer it sits in the fridge. If you don't like that, try to use it more quickly.
More Delicious Thai Recipes You'll Love
- Khao Khua
- Chili dipping sauce
- Nam Tok
- Moo Ping
- Rice in Thai cooking
- Lao Green Papaya salad recipe
- Sweet chili sauce or Nam Jim Gai
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