Vietnamese Tamarind Dipping Sauce

Tamarind sauce

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Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 20 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
307 Calories
1g Fat
70g Carbs
12g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 307
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1632mg 71%
Total Carbohydrate 70g 25%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Protein 12g
Calcium 299mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sweet, tangy with a touch of spicy, this Vietnamese dipping sauce is the perfect accompaniment to any grilled fish or seafood. In Southeast Asian cooking, sauces are also enjoyed with rice or noodle bowls. The ingredients that go into a sauce, what spices and herbs are added, make each sauce distinct from others. This dipping sauce offers up a great flavorful combination with each tantalizing bite.

Citrus juice is a common ingredient. Lime is native to Southeast Asia so it is used more often than lemon. Kalamansi, more acidic than lime, is another citrus that grows in the region. And then, there's tamarind. Not as easy to use than vinegar or citrus juice but definitely worth all the extra steps in the preparation.

Tamarind is a tree and the fruits are pod-like. The pulp of a young tamarind fruit is sour and ideal for making sour broths and sauces. Worcestershire sauce contains tamarind extract. As the fruit matures, the pulp becomes sweeter. At that stage, tamarind is made into candy or jam or pressed to make juice drinks.


  • 3 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • 1 fresh chili (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ​fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water

Steps to Make It

  1. Place the tamarind pulp in a heatproof bowl.

  2. Bring half a cup of water to the boil. Pour into the bowl with the tamarind pulp. Allow to soak for about ten minutes. Strain with a wire mesh, pressing the pulp through the mesh. Discard everything that cannot be pressed through the mesh.

  3. With a mortar and pestle, mash the chili, garlic, and sugar to a paste.

  4. Gradually add the tamarind extract and fish sauce, mixing as you pour. 

  5. Serve with your favorite grilled seafood.​

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