Nam Jim Seafood (Spicy Thai Seafood Dipping Sauce)

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Nam jim seafood recipe – spicy, garlicky, salty, and zesty, all perfectly balanced in one dip. You can totally drizzle this spicy Thai seafood dipping sauce over everything you want – grilled or steamed fish, squid, crab, grilled meat, and even these fresh shrimp rolls.

Nam jim seafood, served with grilled squid.

What is nam jim seafood

Nam jim seafood is a traditional Thai dipping sauce with salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. Often served with seafood, it’s easy-to-make with garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, chili peppers, and palm sugar.

Why try this Thai seafood sauce recipe

  • The best nam jim seafood sauce. Trust me, one taste of this, and you’ll have a new favorite sauce. With every dip, you’re getting a taste of authentic Thai flavors. This is a family recipe, and we whip it up at every family gathering when mookata (Thai BBQ) is on the menu.
  • No more store-bought stuff! This fresh, homemade nam jim sauce is healthy and good for you. It’s loaded with nutrient-rich, natural ingredients and zero preservatives.
  • Pairs with everything. This is the best condiment for any seafood, it goes with everything! Mussels, oysters, steamed fish, lobster, you name it.
  • Quick and easy. No one wants to spend hours in the kitchen, and this nam jim talay is super easy to make. It’s perfect for quickly leveling up that fresh seafood.
  • Customizable. A bit more spicy or a bit more mild, this recipe is easy to adapt. Adjust the chilies for an extra kick, or add an extra lime squeeze for more zesty flavor. Nam jim talay is all about balancing the flavors.
A hand dipping grilled squid into nam jim seafood sauce.

Have you seen my recipe for nam jim jaew? It’s absolutely perfect with grilled meat.

Difference between green and red seafood dipping sauce

Stuck choosing between the tangy green and the delicious red nam jim seafood sauces? Here’s your short guide to picking the perfect dip!

Thai green chili sauce

Close-up of Thai green chili sauce in a glass cup on a white background.
  • Brilliant green, thanks to fresh green chili peppers, mint, and cilantro / coriander.
  • It’s lighter, zestier, and has more herbs.
  • Sometimes has a touch of basil.
  • Best for seafood like shrimp, steamed fish, and light fish dishes.
  • It’s perfect for a hot summer day, one of the best refreshing sauces of Thai cuisine.

Red nam jim seafood (นำ้จิ้มซีฟู้ด)

Close-up of red nam jim seafood sauce in a clay sauce cup.
  • A deep, red, almost brown hue that screams flavorful.
  • Rich, in flavor and spicy!
  • Made with red chilies, and in our family we use roasted peanuts.
  • This one pairs perfectly with lobster, grilled squid, and crab.

How to customize

One thing I’ve learned working in Thai restaurants; people have their own taste buds. Here’s the best way to make this sauce recipe perfect for you!

  • To spice things up, add more Thai bird’s eye chilies. For a milder sauce, just take a few out or use a mild type of chilies like serrano peppers, jalapeños, or others.
  • To make it sweeter, add 1/2 tablespoon more palm sugar.
  • For an extra salty flavor, start with 1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce.

Aim for balanced spiciness and don’t overwhelm the sauce with any of the flavors. As always, taste-test before serving.

Top-down view of nam jim seafood in a clay cup, garnished with coriander, with grilled squid.

Looking for more authentic Thai recipes?

Ingredients

For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.

Bird's eye view of ingredients for nam jim seafood; roasted peanuts, chilies, garlic, lime, fish sauce, palm sugar, and a small mortar and pestle.
  • Palm sugar – Palm sugar is key for that authentic flavor. It adds a rich, almost caramel-like flavor with depth and sweetness to balance the heat and zest.
  • Fish sauce – Often used in Southeast Asian cuisine for its salty and umami flavor. Look for a high quality brand like red boat fish sauce, don’t skip this.
  • Roasted peanuts – Roast them before adding them to the sauce for an extra nutty, and toasty flavor.
  • Chilies – You can use Thai bird’s eye chilies, Thai Jinda chilies, or milder ones if you prefer.
  • Garlic – You can’t have Thai seafood sauce without fresh garlic.
  • Lime – FRESH lime juice is the key for the perfect flavor balance, balancing out the sweet and spicy flavors.

Short recipe video

How to make nam jim seafood

Total Time: 10 minutes

  1. Crush garlic and chilies

    Grind the garlic and chilies together with a mortar and pestle until you achieve a fine paste.

  2. Add roasted peanuts

    Add in the roasted peanuts and continue to crush them with the pestle.

  3. Mix in palm sugar and fish sauce

    Mix in the palm sugar and fish sauce so that they blend well into a sauce-like consistency.

  4. Add lime juice

    Squeeze in the fresh lime juice and give the sauce one last stir to combine the flavors. Serve immediately.

Recipe tips and tricks

  • Always use fresh ingredients. Fresh garlic, lime juice, and chilies.
  • Use a mortar and pestle. If you have one, use a mortar and pestle for the best flavor, releasing the natural oils and flavors from the ingredients. You can use a food processor as an alternative if you don’t have a mortar and pestle.
  • Taste as you go. Don’t just add everything into the mortar at once. Taste the sauce each time and adjust the ingredients if needed.

Kitchen tools

How to serve

Transfer to a serving bowl or use individual sauce cups. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh coriander.

  • Your next backyard BBQ.
  • Fresh vegetables: Sliced cucumbers, crunchy carrots, fresh lettuce leaves, and even bell peppers.
  • Seafood feast: Lobster, shrimp, crab, fish, mussels, oysters, BBQ seafood, grilled seafood.
  • Grilled meat: Grilled chicken, pork, beef, and these Thai ribs.
  • Sticky rice: Use the sauce as a dip.

How to store

Store in an airtight container. The best choice is a glass container, since it won’t absorb the flavors. Store in the fridge for up to a week, and use a clean spoon each time. Before using, give the sauce a good stir.

Did you know?

Nam jim seafood sauce is a staple in Isan, the northeastern region of Thailand. Isan cuisine is known for its bold and spicy flavors.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)

What is nam jim?

Nam jim is a collective term for Thai dipping sauces. While nam jim seafood is geared towards seafood, there are also variations for grilled meats, and even for raw vegetables. They all share the balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy Thai flavors.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes it is. But make sure to double-check the labels on your fish sauce.

Can I make this in advance?

Totally. Making it ahead of time will make the flavors even better.

More Thai dipping sauces you’ll love

If you loved reading this nam jim seafood recipe, please make my day by dropping a star rating and/or a comment below!

5 from 1 vote

Nam Jim Seafood (Spicy Thai Seafood Dipping Sauce)

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 5 min Cook Time 5 min Total Time 10 mins
Servings: 4 Calories: 89

Description

This nam jim seafood recipe comes together in just 10 minutes.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Grind the garlic and chilies together with a mortar and pestle until you achieve a fine paste.

  2. Add in the roasted peanuts and continue to crush them with the pestle.

  3. Mix in the palm sugar and fish sauce so that they blend well into a sauce-like consistency.

  4. Squeeze in the fresh lime juice and give the sauce one last stir to combine the flavors. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 4


Amount Per Serving
Calories 89kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3.2g5%
Saturated Fat 0.4g2%
Total Carbohydrate 14g5%
Dietary Fiber 0.9g4%
Sugars 11.4g
Protein 2.3g5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Note

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • You can use a food processor if you don't have a mortar and pestle.
  • Taste-test and adjust flavors if needed.
  • Serve with seafood, grilled meats, rice, or others.
  • Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Keywords: nam jim seafood, nam jim seafood recipe, Thai seafood dipping sauce

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About Author

Praew

I owned my own Thai restaurant and have years of experience in various other Thai restaurants. I've been whipping up classic Thai dishes by my mother's and grandma's side since I was just a little girl. Now I'm sharing my deep-rooted passion with my authentic Thai recipes on this food blog.

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