Cooking Tips and Questions - Vietnamese food and sugar substitute?

10-12-2010, 01:10 PM
Hi All,

I'm just starting out and am trying to cut out as much sugar as possible from my diet. But I cook Vietnamese food at least three times a week and a degree of sweetness is required in many dishes. Has anyone tried using sugar substitute in Vietnamese food? What has worked best? Can you get away with a sugar substitute in nuoc cham?


10-12-2010, 05:03 PM
Personally I find that the small amount of sugar used in this overall low fat and healthy cuisine does not require subbing. I do use honey in nuoc cham because I like the taste - but that does not lower calories. In quick pickles like cucumber, carrot, and daikon, I have subbed Splenda and find it to be ok - I think because the vinegar is strong enough to mask any off flavor of the artificial sweetener. I find nuoc cham to be more subtle (yes despite the fish sauce) and have never tried Splenda there.

10-12-2010, 06:11 PM
I usually don't have "real" sweeteners in the house at all (hubby keeps a small teddy bear of honey, but I'm allergic to most honeys -which means I'm probalby allergic to a specific, but common pollen).

We keep Equal and Sweet n Low (or their generic equivalents) in the house for hubby, but I usually use Splenda as my main sweetener in recipes calling for sugar, including nuoc cham. I didn't know the name "nuoc cham," but when I looked it up, I realized I make this all of the time (I use it as a dipping sauce, a salad dressing, a meat or vegetable marinade... Heck, I could almost drink the stuff).

Here's my recipe (though I never really measure).

3 tablespoons lime juice or rice wine vinegar (or combination of the two)

3 to 5 tablespoons fish sauce (depending on the strength of the fish sauce)

1 small garlic clove, finely minced (I'll sometimes use dried minced garlic in the winter. Fresh garlic is better, but sometimes winter garlic is bitter).

squirt of Sriracha or other chili or chili garlic paste/sauce

water and Splenda to taste (depending on how sour the lime/vinegar and how strong the fish sauce)

10-13-2010, 11:14 AM
Thanks so much for the suggestions! Perhaps I'll try using some Splenda. I'm also curious if agave nectar or stevia might work.