This Cambodian fried spring roll dipping sauce recipe makes the quintessential condiment for the classic Cambodian fried spring rolls with pork and shrimp called teuk trei pa’em in Khmer. This sweet fish sauce-based dipping sauce is made with fish sauce, vinegar, palm sugar, shallots, garlic and carrot and it is an absolute cinch to make.
Our Cambodian fried spring roll dipping sauce recipe will make you a dipping sauce called teuk trei pa’em in Khmer, which Cambodians translate simply to ‘sweet fish sauce’, ‘teuk trei’ referring to fish sauce and any fish sauce-based dipping sauces. The tangy-sweet dipping sauce is made with fish sauce, vinegar, palm sugar, shallots, garlic, and carrot.
Teuk trei pa’em is the condiment that traditionally accompanies the classic Cambodian deep-fried spring rolls filled with pork, shrimp, carrot, daikon, and garlic, which our American readers call egg rolls. This Cambodian dipping sauce is so easy to make that you may never buy a bottled spring roll dipping sauce again. I’ll tell you how to make it in a moment, but first…
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Cambodian Fried Spring Roll Dipping Sauce Recipe
This Cambodian fried spring roll dipping sauce recipe makes you teuk trei pa’em, a sweet and sour dipping sauce that has traditionally been served with classic Khmer deep-fried spring rolls filled with minced pork, dried shrimp, grated carrot, daikon, and garlic – which Americans call egg rolls.
I say “traditionally” because here in Cambodia in recent years, if you ordered a plate of fried spring rolls at a tourist restaurant in Siem Reap, you would probably be served a small dish filled with anything from a bottled Cambodian chilli sauce, Thai Sriracha, soy sauce, or a sweet Chinese plum sauce.
While I have to confess to being a fan of the latter when I’m looking for something to dip my Chinese spring rolls into, for traditional Khmer deep-fried spring rolls I want a local Cambodian dipping sauce that is authentic to the local culinary culture in Cambodia.
Order classic spring rolls at a local market, street food stall or simple local eatery in Cambodia and you’re typically going to be served something that resembles our spring roll dipping sauce recipe which you can guarantee has been made at that eatery or restaurant or bought in by a local cook who specialises in making the dipping sauce.
Tips to Making This Fried Spring Roll Dipping Sauce Recipe
This Cambodian deep-fried spring roll dipping sauce recipe is a cinch to make. It’s so easy that we have very few tips. We recommend you use Cambodian palm sugar, but if you can’t get hold of it, use brown sugar, raw sugar, or white sugar if you must.
When it comes to fish sauce, for Cambodian dishes we would use a Cambodian fish sauce, which tends to be saltier than a Thai fish sauce or Vietnamese fish sauce, however, it can be challenging to find Cambodian fish sauces outside the country and the Thai and Vietnamese fish sauces are more consistent and available online.
Here in Cambodia, we use palm vinegar if we can, and if we can’t we use a Southeast Asian white distilled vinegar, typically made in Thailand, or something like coconut vinegar, which can be even harder to get hold of than palm vinegar for some.
Each of these vinegars taste quite different to the next, so you’ll have to adjust amounts to suit your taste. If it’s too tangy, add more palm sugar. We don’t recommend you use an Italian style white wine vinegar as some of the fried spring roll dipping sauce recipes recommend, as they are completely different in flavour profile.
Our last tip for this fried spring roll dipping sauce recipe is to taste. Always taste. Because ingredients vary from country to country, brand to brand, and your taste is different to mine. Taste and adjust to suit your taste.
Cambodian Deep-Fried Spring Roll Dipping Sauce Recipe
- 50 ml Water
- 2 tsp palm sugar
- 50 ml Fish sauce
- 50 ml Palm vinegar - coconut vinegar or white distilled vinegar
- 1 garlic clove - finely chopped
- 1 shallot - finely chopped
- 50 g carrot - grated
- In a small pot bring the water and palm sugar to the boil.
- Add the fish sauce and palm vinegar, coconut vinegar or white wine vinegar then remove from the heat.
- Add the finely chopped garlic clove and shallot and grated carrot, stir to combine, and taste. If it’s too tangy, add palm sugar while it’s still warm and stir to combine well. If you’d like the fish sauce flavour to be more pronounced, add more. Allow to cool.
- Once cool, pour into individual dipping sauce dishes to serve to your guests.
Do let us know if you make our Cambodian fried spring roll dipping sauce recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.