Jeow Som (Lao Spicy & Sour Dipping Sauce) is the everyday dipping sauce that goes with anything and everything. This sauce is the perfect balance between sweet, spicy, and sour, but can be customized to your preference. Pair this sauce with your favorite protein and you won’t regret it!
If I had to pick a dipping sauce that defined my childhood, it would be jeow som –which translates to sour sauce. Think of it as the spicier and more pungent cousin of a chimichurri.
Jeow som is the everyday sauce that pairs perfectly with just about anything. When I was younger my parents would catch me sneaking bites of fresh made sticky rice dipped in jeow som. It was my favorite way to eat it.
When I say this pairs perfectly with anything, I really mean it! It’s a multiple purpose sauce that is great with meat, chicken, seafood, and vegetables. I personally love having it with steak (and of course rice). You can use the sauce as a dipping sauce or you can spoon it over your choice of protein and veggies.
This sauce is one of those sauces that are made to preference. I prefer mine on the spicier and tangier side. The measurements I share with you can be adjusted to how you want the sauce to taste. They key is to ensure you get a bit of spicy, sour, and sweet.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR THE JEOW SOM:
- Garlic cloves
- Thai chili peppers (bird’s eye chili)
- Kosher salt
- MSG (optional)
- Sugar (you can even use palm sugar if you wanted)
- Fish sauce
- Chopped cilantro
HELPFUL TIPS AND TRICKS TO GET THE BEST JEOW SOM:
- If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, it’s time to invest in one. If you really don’t want to, you can use a food processor to make this sauce.
- This sauce can last for awhile, so feel free to double the recipe and make it well in advance.
- You can make this vegetarian/vegan by using a vegan fish sauce. Try looking for a brand made in Thailand or Vietnam.
- Again, the measurements are a guideline to making this recipe. Taste and adjust as you go.
I hope you enjoy this sauce as much as I do! Be sure to tag me on Instagram is you make it. I want to see what you pair it with.
Jeow Som (Lao Spicy & Sour Dipping Sauce)
- 4-6 garlic cloves
- 8-10 Thai chili peppers (bird's eye chili)
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp msg (optional)
- 2-3 tbsp sugar
- ¼ - ½ cup fish sauce
- 2 limes, juiced (more for taste)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
Add garlic cloves, Thai chili peppers, kosher salt, and msg to a mortar1.
Using a pestle, crush the ingredients until a rough paste forms.
Next add in ¼ cup of the fish sauce, two tablespoons of sugar, and the lime juice. Mix until well combined.
Taste the dipping sauce and adjust it to your liking. Add more fish sauce if you want it saltier, more sugar if you want it sweeter, or more lime juice if you want it tangier.
Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.
- If you don't have a mortar, you can add the ingredients into a food processor and blend until well combined.
Lao Grilled Chicken (Pieng Gai)
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