Appetizers, Snacks, Dips, Salsas and Spreads: Dips


Vietnamese Bean Dipping Sauce

This recipe is very simple and is quite delicious, especially if you can find whole fermented soybeans. You can also embellish it with garlic, chilies, and ginger and serve it on grilled fish, chicken, and beef. If you can't find soybeans, substitute 1/3 cup of hoisin sauce and omit the sugar.


  • 1/4 cup whole fermented soybeans (look for these at an Asian market)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (you may find this in cans in the Asian or cocktail mixer section of your supermarket)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • Garnishes
    • 1 tablespoon ground chili paste (or to taste)
    • 1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts


    1. Place the soybeans (or hoisin sauce), water, coconut milk, vinegar, onions, and sugar in a blender or food processor. Process just until the mixture is smooth.
    2. Transfer to a saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat. (If you don't have a food processor or blender, cook the soybean mixture first, then beat with a whisk.) Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon, about 5 minutes. Add a little water if it's too thick. Set aside to cool.
    3. To serve, transfer to individual sauce bowls and garnish with chili paste and chopped peanuts. Sauce will keep up to two weeks if refrigerated.

    1 1/2 cups

    Nutritional Information:
    per 1/8 cup serving: 38 calories, 1.5 g protein, 4 g carbohydrate, 2.2 g fat, 1.3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0.2 g fiber 1 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 49%.

    Source: Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table by Mai Pham (Harper Collins, 2001). Reprinted with permission.

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Last Editorial Review: 10/9/2006