Nước Màu (Vietnamese Caramel Sauce)

Considered an essential component in many classic Vietnamese dishes (such as Bún Chả and Thịt Kho Tàu), caramel sauce (Nước Màu) is perhaps one of the single most important ingredients in Vietnamese cooking. Used to add depth of flavour to a wide range of dishes, caramel sauce also adds colour and imparts a sweet, smoky undertone.

Nước Màu (Vietnamese Caramel Sauce): Makes 1/2 cup

  • 125g white sugar
  • 75ml boiling water


  1. Add the sugar to a small saucepan over a medium heat
  2. After about 3 – 4 minutes the sugar will start to caramelise
  3. Stir the caramelising sugar few times, allowing it to bubble away for another minute or so. The caramel will quickly turn from golden to brown, so keep an eye on it
  4. The moment it starts to turn brown, take the pan off the heat
  5. Immediately add the boiling water, doing so carefully as the mixture will probably spit violently
  6. Stir the sauce to combine and set aside to cool
  7. Store in a tight-lidded jar at room temperatures. The sauce has a shelf-life of 1 month

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