The Thai dipping sauce Nam Jim Jaew recipe without sugar (using honey) 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.
- What is Nam Jim Jaew?
- What does Nam Jim Jaew Taste like?
- Why you'll love Nam Jim Jaew
- Toasted Rice Powder
- Dried Chili Flakes
- Ingredients to Make Nam Jim Jaew
- How to Make Nam Jim Jaew Recipe Using Honey
- Helpful Kitchen Notes
- How to serve Nam Jim Jaeow
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Delicious Thai Recipes You'll Love
- Nam Jim Jaew recipe without sugar
- More Thai Sauces You'll Love
What is Nam Jim Jaew?
Nam Jim Jaew is a spicy Thai dipping sauce with chili flakes, tamarind paste, lime juice, shallot, garlic, cilantro, and a sweeter choice. This sweet chili sauce is incomplete until the sticky rice powder is added at the end for the extra crunchy earthly flavors.
Make my Thai sweet chili sauce with your favorite summer grilling food for another delicious sauce.
What does Nam Jim Jaew Taste like?
Nam Jim Jaew has the perfect blend of salty, sour, sweet, and tangy tastes mixed with fresh ingredients, making 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.
In Laos, the dip is called Jeow dip, with similar flavors using almost all the ingredients. The sauce is perfect for grilled meat, vegetables, and stir-fried dishes. It's also delicious to eat with cooked sticky rice and jasmine rice.
Why you'll love Nam Jim Jaew
- 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 many traditional recipes typically use processed white sugar, palm sugar, or brown sugar.
- 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 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.
- This recipe is quick and easy to assemble, and the ingredients are easy 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.
Toasted Rice Powder
A note on toasted rice powder or Khao Khua. Toasted rice is one of the main ingredients for this Thai dipping sauce. Please don't skip it. Khao Khua is made from dry toasting sticky rice in a pan until fragrant, then ground to powder form. The powdered rice has nutty and smoky flavors that add depth and flavor to sauces, thickens soups, and a crunchy texture to salads and thickens soups.
Toasted rice powder is very easy to make! Check out my recipe here- Khao Khua, toasted rice powder. They are also available at well-stocked Asian grocery stores.
Dried Chili Flakes
Dried chili flakes are the other key ingredients for Nam Jim dipping sauce. You dried chili flakes instead of chili powder. The flakes add textures and body to the sauce, while the chili powder is too fine, making the jaew sauce extra spicy.
Buy chili flakes at your Asian market or make it yourself by simply dry toasting whole red chilies on a pan on low heat until fragrant. Remove the toasted chilis, let cool for a few minutes then grind to a flakey consistency. Store leftovers in an airtight container in your pantry for up to 6 months.
Ingredients to Make Nam Jim Jaew
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 key 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. 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. Soy sauce is not recommended for substitution.
- Honey: My Nam Jim Jaew recipe uses honey instead of sugar. Use your local honey if possible. If you have seasonal allergies like me, 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.
- Dried Chili flakes. The spicy flavors come from the chili flakes. Chili powder could work, but the texture will be better than flakes. Fresh red chilies can be used for this recipe, too.
- 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, taste, and adjust the flavor with 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. 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 small pieces.
- These brands of fish sauce are great for this recipe. My favorites are Three Crabs, Red Boat, and Megachef (a lesser-known fish sauce). They are light and sweet and perfectly balance salty and umami flavors.
- If you have extra rice powder, store it in an airtight container and keep it in the freezer. 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!
How to serve Nam Jim Jaeow
Dishes that pair well with Nam Jim Jaeow are Sticky rice (made with bamboo basket steamer), Thai grilled pork spare ribs, Moo ping, Gai Yang (Thai BBQ chicken), crispy pork belly, Thai-style pork ribs, Pieng seen Naam Tok (beef waterfall). Or serve Nam Jim sauce with Thai sticky rice and jasmine rice.
Frequently Asked Questions
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!
This Thai dipping sauce has all the flavors that Thai cuisine is known for: 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.
Like all food, fresh is best. Nam Jim Jaew will stay in the fridge for 3-4 days. The rice powder will expand and get soggy in the sauce the longer it sits in the fridge. If you don't like that, try to use it more quickly.
Nam Jim in Thai means a chili dipping sauce. The literal translation in Thai goes like this. Nam = water, Jim = dipping, dip, or dip (into something). So, in the case of Nam Jim, it means dipping water (liquid or sauce).
Nam Jim and Nam Phrik refer to a spicy Thai dipping sauce with various ingredients. The common ingredient in both is the Thai chilis, dry or fresh, used for making the sauce spicy. Nam Prik is typically drier with minimal liquid, while Nam Jim is saucier, using a mixture of fish sauce, lime or tamarind juice, and water. Both are popular with Thai people.
Nam Prik, in Thai, means a spicy sauce or condiment to use as a dipping sauce with food. Nam means water, and Prik means chili, so chili is watery (sauce). The most basic Nam Prik in the Nam Pla Phrik is a popular spicy sauce that adds flavor and heat to any dish. You can almost always find this sauce in most Thai restaurants, cafes, and stalls throughout Thailand.
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- Nam Tok
- Moo Ping
- Rice in Thai cooking
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- Sweet Thai chili sauce or Nam Jim Gai