Nam Jim Jaew (or “Jaew”) is a spicy & sour Thai dipping sauce that you often find in Thailand or Thai restaurants. You commonly see it served with Thai BBQ, Thai Jim Jum hotpot or Som Tum meal. We have covered these dishes in our other articles.
Jaew sauce has a complex taste and fragrance. Learn more about this Thai dipping sauce including its application and how to make one at home here!
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Nam Jim Jaew dipping sauce: the popular local dipping sauce
“Nam Jim” simply means dipping sauce in Thai. So as the name implies, Nam Jim Jaew is a dipping sauce with spicy & sour taste which is originated from North-eastern part of Thailand (Issan region).
What can you dip into the Jaew sauce?
- Thai BBQ: whether it is grilled pork, chicken or beef, these generally taste great with Jaew sauce (Including in Mookata meal)
- Meat from Jim Jum or Thai hotpot: Jaew sauce is also commonly served in a Thai hotpot meal. You can dip cooked meat like pork from the hotpot into Jaew sauce before consumption
As you can see, Jaew is a very versatile sauce that can be used with a wide range of grilled and boiled dishes. The next question will be, can you make this sauce at home?
Making Jaew sauce at home: Nam Jim Jaew recipe
Here is a simple, step-by-step recipe to make Nam Jim Jaew at home. The recipe is for about 5 portions so that you can keep and use it over a few meals.
- Mix 10 tablespoons of tamarind or green lime sauce with about 12 tablespoons of fish sauce
- Add 1 teaspoon of sugar together with 3 tablespoons of warm water. Then mix well until the sugar melts
- Add chili flakes. While we recommend 4-5 tablespoons, you can adjust the spiciness to your liking
- Pan roast raw rice grains until they turn crisp & brown. Then put the rice into a grinder/mixer to make ground roasted rice powder
- Your Jaew sauce is about 90% ready! Do this last step right before your meal to ensure freshness of the ingredients: top up Jaew sauce with ground roasted rice powder and finely chopped coriander/green onion
Nam Jim Jaew bottle
While the sauce is not hard to make, it requires a wide range of ingredients which may not be readily available outside of Thailand. In that case, Nam Jim Jaew in a bottle is an alternative.
There are a number of brands to choose from, the renowned ones include Pure Foods and Deksomboon. While bottled sauce is an alternative, it goes without saying that the taste and fragrance will not be comparable to the original sauce. Hence, we would still recommend making your own sauce at home.
If you are overseas and left without any other choice, you can improve the bottled sauce using lime, chili, ground roasted rice powder or chopped coriander.
Or, you can always make a visit to the nearest Thai restaurant!
Jaew sauce & healthy menu
You can incorporate Nam Jim Jaew into a healthy menu for health conscious consumers or those on diet. In general, Jaew also works great in adding taste and fragrance to dishes with mild taste.
Some examples are steamed fish and steamed vegetable. Both fresh water or seawater steamed fish, they would go nicely when paired with Jaew and they would taste less bland. Almost all steamed vegetables can go well with Jaew sauce. Moreover, if you want to make it even better, you can add herbs like lemongrass or Thai basil when steaming the vegetables!
Should you try the Jaew sauce?
Jaew is a versatile sauce that is easy to make and can be paired with a wide range of grilled, boiled, and steamed ingredients. It can amp up the flavor of food that does not have strong taste quite well. It is a very commonly found sauce in any Thai restaurants, so you should at least try this sauce and see if you like it. If you need to make it at home yourself, you can try doing it as the steps are fairly easy.
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