Emma’s Recipes

Nguc Cham

The Vietnamese staple condiment “Nguc Cham” can turn any dish into something magical. This sweet, sour, salty and spicy dressing is all you need to bring your dish to the next level. Dress up your every day bowl of veggies, or spice up your barbecued fish or meat with this very simple recipe:

2 tbsp lime juice (one lime)
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water,
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 cloves of garlic
3-6 bird’s eye chilies, finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients and let sit for 10-15 mins before serving. Adjust the flavors and add more lime/sugar/fish sauce if needed.

Korean Spiced Fish Cakes

500g white, firm fish (skin and boneless)
1 egg
1 tbsp gochujang
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
a pinch of white pepper
5 green beans, chopped into 5mm long pieces

40 g corn or potato starch
vegetable oil for frying
a handful of fresh coriander
Nguc Cham for dipping


Mix the first group of ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
Add the starch and mix it in by hand to avoid a gluey mixture.
Shape the mixture into little patties.
Fry in oil (make sure the oil goes at least half way up the cakes) for a couple or minutes on each side.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with Nguc Cham.

Cold Noodle Salad with Grilled Squid

3 whole squid, gutted and cleaned
200g rice noodles
10 green beans
10 Cherry tomatoes
3 shallots
A handful of mint leaves
A handful of chopped coriander (stems and leaves)
100 ml of Nguc Cham


Boil the rice noodles until soft and rinse them immediately in cold water. Set aside.

Pat the squid completely dry, using paper or a kitchen towel. If you have time, leave them on a kitchen towel, uncovered in the fridge for a few hours to dry out.

Rub in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and grill on high heat for about 4 mins each side. Do not over-cook since it will turn rubbery. Use a griddle pan or barbecue for best result since the squid will release a lot of water.

Slice the squid and set aside.

Rinse and chop your veggies. Cut the beans in half or thirds, half the tomatoes and finely slice the shallots.

Mix everything together (veg, herbs, squid, noodles, nguc cham).

Chicken Skewers

2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp of ground turmeric
a pinch of white pepper
2 cloves of grated garlic
1 tbsp sugar or honey
Juice from 1 lime

around 15 small skewers
a handful of mint leaves
4 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
Nguc Cham for dipping

Soak the skewers in water to avoid them from burning.

Slice the chicken breasts into very thin slices.
Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and marinade the chicken for at least 30 minutes.
Skewer the chicken and grill on very high heat for a couple of minutes (time depends on how thin you have sliced the chicken) each side until the chicken is cooked through.

Finish off with thinly sliced Kaffir lime leaves. Remove stem, roll them up, finely slice, and sprinkle on top.

Serve with Nguc Cham and fresh mint