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Dipping sauce recipe for Vietnamese fresh spring rolls (Tương chấm gỏi cuốn)

When a reader’s request for a recipe for spring roll dipping sauce came in, I knew exactly what I wanted to share: my Mom’s handwritten recipe for the sauce.

It’s taken from the recipe book she prepared for me when I had to cook for myself for the first time (summer after freshman year in college). It was a great stroll down the memory lane to see such specific instructions for very simple dishes in that notebook. Also, note the stains on the page…I definitely relied on this recipe book for quite a while 🙂

The Vietnamese recipe is in the photo, followed by English translation and our additional notes after the link:

Handwritten recipe for spring roll dipping sauce recipe

Spring roll dipping sauce recipe, handwritten by Mom

Sauce recipe: (super easy) 3/4 cup of water (use broth from boiling of pork and shrimp for better results) + 4 tbsps hoisin sauce + 2 tbsps vinegar + 2 tsps soy sauce + 1/2 tsp tapioca flour (or corn starch). Mix everything in a bowl.

Place a small sauce pan on the stove, heat 1 tsp of oil, add minced garlic and fry until golden, then pour the above mixture in. Stir briskly with chopsticks until mixture is brought to a boil. Season sauce to taste (should be on the sweet side). If the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of water to make it more watery and easier to use for dipping. When served, remember to add crushed peanuts + a pinch of minced garlic & chilli pepper + a pinch of deep fried shallots

* Note: while pouring mixture into the pan, remember to stir briskly like stirring powder baby formula, otherwise flour will clump up and ruin the sauce.

There you have it, the sauce recipe in Vietnamese and English. Now for our own additional notes:

– An immigrant chic way to make a more fragrant, nutty sauce is to add peanut butter to hoisin sauce at a 1:4 – 1:1 ratio.

– This same sauce with or without peanut butter can also be used to with a Hokkien imported dish bò bía (poh pia / spring roll with eggs, jicama, Chinese sausage, and herbs). Instead of pork stock, just use the juice from stir frying jicama.

– The clear stock/stir fry juice can also be added as garnish after the sauce is ladled into individual serving bowls, leaving a nice looking 2 layer sauce. Lamp likes to set things up just so, in order to make a more satisfying mess of them, so making the sauce this way gives him particular relish.

So, how do you make your spring roll dipping sauce? Any other tips and/or embellishments?


  1. The “2 tbsp vinegar” can be replaced by tamarind (me) if you’d like too. I remember asking the lady selling gỏi cuốn in Saigon and she said she used tamarind.

    • Hah, interesting! Thanks, Xuan, for the tip. I love tamarind. We’ll give it a try next time we make gỏi cuốn.

  2. Thanks Xuan. We could probably do a whole post on alternative/interchangeable souring agents in Vietnamese cuisine by region. What’s more, everyone usually has a single go-to souring agent and substitution is rarely thought of.

    Anyway, so the peanut butter to hoisin sauce ratio meant 1 part peanut butter to 4 parts hoisin sauce at the lower end, and equal parts peanut butter and hoisin sauce at the upper end, depending on your preference. 1:1 peanut butter to hoisin sauce will require some tweaking to get the salt content right.

    • Thanks Dang. It’s getting very much like chemical experiment now. Can’t wait to try it this weekend. Will let you know how it comes out. 🙂

  3. I’ll definitely need to try your mother’s recipe the next time I make spring roll. My sauce is quite simple — boiling water + hoisin sauce + crunchy unsalted peanut butter + chili sauce.

    • Thanks, Lynn! Please do let me know what you think of the sauce once you have tried it 🙂

  4. what a great recipe! thanks for sharing it with us 🙂

  5. Your mom has beautiful handwriting. 🙂 I also like how she added “de ot” in the recipe. 😀

    • Thanks, Mai! I do wish I had my mom’s handwriting. I can’t even read mine!

      And yes, I really started learning how to cook with that recipe book, so my mom had to write little encouragements along the way.


  1. […] ) and a general sketch of the method. It was so different from the detailed recipe she wrote for spring roll dipping sauce. A measure of my progress in cooking? After a couple batches with consistent success (defined by […]