top of page
Outdoor Cooking
A Man Preparing a Salad

Nam Jim by Chef Alyssa Han 

(Sweet and Sour Sauce)

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 30 minutes to steep/ Cook time: 10 minutes

Makes about 2/3 cup

Flavour notes: Fragrant, Sweet, Spicy, Vivid

Type of sauce: Dipping, Condiment

Nut-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free

Heat Index: 2


"Thai cuisine is full of rich sauces and condiments. Nam Jim means “dipping sauce” in Thai, and there are many kinds. This sauce is a sweeter chili sauce that is commonplace on Thai and Laotian tables. It also serves as the base for other Thai dipping sauces, made by adding more ingredients. Alyssa Han, owner of Food and Arts by Alyssa—an eco-friendly Thai cooking retreat outside of Bangkok—graciously provided this recipe that works with Thai appetizers, and steamed and grilled meats. To make the sauce vegan, use soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos instead of fish sauce."

For the tamarind sauce (2/3 cup)

1 1/4 cups of water

7 tablespoons seedless tamarind pulp

(if you buy tamarind concentrate which is readymade in the jar or box then it is 200ml like we showed on the video)

¼ cup of fish sauce

¼ cup granulated palm sugar

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons superfine or caster sugar

For Nam Jim (2/3 cup)in the cookbook

2 tablespoons dried Serrano chilies (or chili of medium spicy choice)

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon shallots, chopped

1 tablespoon coriander roots, chopped (or chopped cilantro stalks and 1 teaspoon ground cumin)

1 tablespoon onions, chopped

3 tablespoons tamarind sauce

1½ tablespoons vegetable oil


On the video: for Thai taste and spicy

1/4 cup dried Serrano chillies (or chilli of Thai spicy choice)

2 tablespoon garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped shallots

2 tablespoons coriander roots, chopped (or chopped cilantro stalks and 1 teaspoon ground cumin)

2 tablespoons onions, chopped

3 tablespoons tamarind sauce

1½ tablespoons vegetable oil


Special equipment needed: Blender or food processor

To make the tamarind sauce

1. In a small saucepan, boil the water and add the tamarind pulp. Stir until mixed, and let sit for 30 minutes. Squeeze through a sieve to remove any pulp or plant mass

(In the video we did not use tamarind pulp and we used tamarind concentrate which is already made in the box so it normally does not have a strong taste like a pulp so we need more quantity like 200 ml)

2. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the tamarind concentrate, and bring to a boil. Add the fish sauce and then the palm sugar.

3. When everything is dissolved, add the vinegar and caster sugar. Cook on low for 5 minutes, until the tamarind sauce is thick and syrupy. Set aside.

To make the Nam Jim

1. In the food processor, blend the chilies, garlic, shallots, cilantro roots, onions, and 3 tablespoons of tamarind sauce until you have a paste.

2. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat and add the paste. Bring to a simmering boil. Stir to combine.

3. Lower the heat. Add the remainder of the tamarind sauce, and season with salt. Take off the heat and let it cool.

Storage: 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator, in a glass jar or plastic container

Parings and Serving Ideas


· Pan-Seared Crispy Skin Duck Breast

· Pan-Seared Boneless Chicken Thighs

· Vegetable Stir-Fry 


· Pan-Roasted Veggies 

· Mixed Green Salad

· Oysters

Ingredient Tip: Asian or Indian speciality markets will likely have cilantro with the roots still attached. Another trick is to ask a neighbourhood Thai restaurant if you can buy some of theirs during their next order.

bottom of page