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Thai Seafood Sauce

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Thai Seafood Sauce or Nam Jim Seafood, is a dipping sauce for steamed or grilled seafood. It’s spicy, garlicky, salty, and sour.

Up close view of seafood dipping sauce in a glass bowl with crab on the side.

This sauce elevates plain grilled seafood and gives it a punch of flavor. Be warned, you will have garlic breath after eating this, but it’s worth it!

During the holidays and for New Year’s, my mom will go all out and make grilled lobster, crab legs, shrimp, and squid.

We eat it with this seafood dipping sauce, lettuce leaves, and sticky rice for an authentic Thai meal. It’s quite the spread!


  • Thai Chilies
  • Garlic
  • Lime Juice
  • Cilantro
  • Fish Sauce
  • Coconut Sugar
Ingredients for seafood dipping sauce.


Here are a few substitutions you can make. However, I don’t recommend substitutes for the garlic, lime juice, or fish sauce.

Thai Chilies- You can substitute serrano peppers, or jalapenos if you want it less spicy.

Cilantro- In Thailand, they use coriander roots and stems, but that’s harder to find here, so I use cilantro. I don’t recommend using parsley.

Coconut Sugar- I’m using granulated coconut sugar, but in Thailand they use a palm sugar disc and shave it off with a knife. Or you can substitute with white sugar.

Hand holding a piece of crab being dipped into the sauce.

How to Make

This Thai seafood sauce is incredibly easy to make. You will need either a food processor or a small food chopper.

Wash the peppers, and cilantro then allow them to dry. Remove the stems from the peppers and place them in the food processor with garlic cloves and cilantro. Pulse until everything is broken down and incorporated.

2 image collage of herbs and garlic in a food chopper.

Remove the blade, add lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. If it’s too thick add a splash of water. Mix well and taste.

The sauce needs to be adjusted to your liking. Use my measurements as a guide and add more lime, fish sauce, or sugar as needed.

How to Serve and Store

Pour the seafood sauce into a serving bowl or individual dipping bowls. Serve with any type of steamed or grilled seafood.

Here I have steamed snow crab and grilled Argentinean Shrimp. You can serve with some lettuce leaves, cumbers, rice or Thai sticky rice.

Overhead view of crab, shrimp, and dipping sauce.

Store any remaining sauce in a sealed glass container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Try my spicy dipping sauce for Thai beef jerky.

Feature image of crab being dipped into the seafood dipping sauce.

Thai Seafood Sauce Recipe

Thai Seafood Sauce or Nam Jim Seafood, is a dipping sauce for steamed or grilled seafood. It's spicy, garlicky, salty, and sour.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 6



  • 5-10 Thai birds eye chilis or substitute serranos
  • 3-5 Garlic Cloves
  • 4 stems Cilantro (use mostly stems instead of leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon Coconut Sugar (palm sugar or white sugar can be used)
  • 3 tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 1 tablespoon Fish sauce


  • Wash the chili peppers and cilantro. Peel the garlic and remove the stems from the peppers.
  • Add the peppers, garlic, and cilantro to a food chopper or processor. Pulse until everything is broken down.
  • Transfer to a bowl, and add sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce. I also added a little water. Taste and adjust to your liking.



Use my measurements as a guide and add more lime, fish sauce, or sugar as needed.
The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Serve with steamed or grilled seafood and Thai Sticky Rice.
Try my Thai Beef Jerky and dipping sauce


Calories: 8kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 0.3gFat: 0.02gSaturated Fat: 0.002gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.002gSodium: 238mgPotassium: 35mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 79IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 0.1mg

Nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and depends on ingredients and amounts used. Thai Caliente makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.

Keyword Nam Jim Seafood, Thai Seafood Sauce
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