Nam Jim Jaew is a popular Thai dipping sauce used for grilled meats or as a dressing for salads. The sauce is easy to make, using tamarind, fish sauce, lime juice, shallots, cilantro, chili flakes, and toasted rice powder. This healthy Nam Jim Jaew recipe uses honey instead of sugar so you can enjoy it guilt-free!
Why this recipe works?
- Using honey in the Nam Jim Jaew recipe is a lot healthier, because processed white sugar, palm sugar, or brown sugar is typically used in many traditional recipes.
- Nam Jim Jaew 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 BBQs.
- This recipe is quick and easy to put together and the ingredients are not difficult to find. You can have the sauce ready to serve in about 15-20 minutes.
- Nam Jim Jaew sauce is also great for using as a healthy salad dressing over steamed or roasted vegetables. Essentially, there's no limit to how Nam Jim Jaew can be used.
What goes into this recipe?
To make the perfect Nam Jim Jaew sauce using honey, you'll need a few ingredients to put it all together. Below is a photo of all the ingredients to make this delicious Thai condiment.
Ingredients you want to take notes on are:
- Toasted rice powder: Toasted rice powder or Khao Kua is the key ingredient for making Nam Jim Jaew. 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 own toasted rice powder. Toasted rice powder, Khao Khua.
- Fish sauce: I used the Three Crab brand fish sauce. This brand is less salty and less pungent than the other brands I've used when cooking Thai food. It's a great fish sauce to use for dipping sauces like Nam Jim Jaew. If you can't find the Three Crab brand fish sauce in your local Asian markets you can substitute with another fish sauce brand, which is The Red Boat brand.
- 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.
- Tamarind: Tamarind sauce/concentrate/lime juice is also important for this recipe. It brings in just the right amount of sweet and sour that brings Nam Jim Jaew to another level of tastiness. 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 is tamarind as well as how to make your own tamarind sauce at home. Follow these links to read up on it. What is tamarind? How to make your own tamarind 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.
- Start with uncooked rice on the stovetop. Simply dry roast the uncooked rice in a frying pan, with no oil, and toast the rice at medium to medium-high heat until the rice is golden brown. Once cooled, ground the rice into a coarse powder, set aside for a minute. More detailed instructions on how to make Toasted rice powder.
- Finely chop the fresh herbs and place them in a medium-sized bowl.
- Warm up the honey in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until it's at a liquid consistency. Pour the honey, when cooled, over the fresh herbs in the bowl.
- Add fish sauce, lime juice, tamarind puree, and chili flakes.
- Stir everything together, taste, and adjust the flavor as needed.
- Lastly, add the star ingredient, the toasted rice powder, and mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You can add 1-2 Tbsp of water if the sauce is a bit too thick for you and adjust with more fish sauce, lime juice, honey, or tamarind to your liking.
That's it, so quick and easy and so delicious!
- What can I use Nam Jim Jaew sauce on? You can use this sauce on EVERYTHING such as grilled meats or a popular choice would be, using it as a dipping sauce. You can also drizzle the sauce over raw or cooked vegetables. I've lathered this crack sauce over Jasmine or sticky rice. Try it, it's 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 with all of the Isaan cuisines.
- How long can you keep this dipping sauce? Like all food, fresh is best. Nam Jim Jaew will keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Take note though: the rice powder will expand and soften and thickens the sauce the longer it sits in the fridge. If you don't like that, try to use it up quicker if possible.
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