Recipe: Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce

Kho quet (Vietnamese caramelized fish sauce dip), a very unique dipping sauce – representing Southern Vietnamese cuisine and flavour, inexpensive, savory, is made by caramelizing fish sauce and sugar in a small clay pot with a small amount of pork, dried shrimp, pork fat, black pepper, ...


Recipe: Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce
It’s a great way to eat your vegetables.

Vietnamese cooking often has fish sauce or dipping sauce with a fish sauce base, and this dipping sauce makes it a great way to eat your vegetables.

If you are looking for a flavorful dipping sauce that is spicy + sweet + salty, you don’t want to miss this one!

It’s flavour, inexpensive, savory yet bringing back memories about the poverty and difficult times for many Vietnamese. It is now a stylish and trendy sauce dip served with various boiled vegetables in many restaurant in Vietnam.


– 3 tbsp fish sauce

– 3 tbsp of brown sugar

– 50g dried shrimp; soaked in warm water for 5 minutes to soften then drain dry; chop coarsely

– 250g of pork fat

– 1/3 cup rice water/or coconut milk to create viscosity, fast glue when storing.

– 1/2 tbsp of whole pepper or 1 finely chopped chilli

– 1/2 tbsp of chopped dried onion

– 1/2 tbsp of freshly chopped scallion and purple onion

– 10 tbsp of chicken/pork stock or water

– Variety or raw and steamed vegetables to serve (cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, daikon, okra, bitter melon, op squash, winter melon, etc.)

Recipe: Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce
The sauce is then served in the clay pot alongside a platter of fresh and boiled vegetables.


– Pork fat just removed the skin, cut a small piece of size 1 cm, washed it. Then, blanch to remove impurities, rinse again.

– Toss in pork fat and stir on over low-heat in a saucepan or frying pot, until brown and crispy but not too dry.

In Vietnam, top mo (fried pork fat) is usually served as a topping over noodle or stir-fried dishes, as well as on mam kho quet.

– Add 2 tbsp of leaf lard (fried above) and sauté sliced purple onion until fragrant.

– Quickly add in minced shrimp + fried pork fat. Give it a gentle stir on over medium heat and cook until thickened. You shouldn’t boil too long to avoid making the shrimps and pork hard.

If you want a healthier version, can choose to remove rendered pork fat after crispy and replace fat oil by cooking oil.

– Add fish sauce + sugar + water (chicken/pork stock) and simmer. When it is almost dry, add the rice water/or coconut milk and continue to simmer until the broth is thick.

– At this time, add chili, pepper, scallion (optional), turn off the heat. Perfect when served with crispy rice crackers and steamed vegetables.

Tips to cook the vegetables: wait until water is boiled, add in a bit of salt, then cook without covering the lit then quickly rinse through cold water.

Cook each vegetables separately as each will have its own required cooking temperature and duration. You just want the vegetables just to be done, not over cooked, or soft./.