Tuk Meric – Cambodian Lime and Black Pepper Dipping Sauce

One of the most simple yet delicious and versatile sauces. It is nothing more than fresh lime juice blended with ground Kampot pepper with a bit of sugar and salt. (Prep time:  2  minutes)

Tuk Meric Sailfish
Sailfish and Tuk Meric


  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground Kampot Pepper (black, red or white depending on your dish)
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice


  1. Mix the four ingredients in a small shallow dish and use as desired.

Author’s note: I have made a number of variations using Tuk Meric as the base. I was once preparing a pork tenderloin dish for friends and had an extra apple on the counter. I thought, hmm; why not make some applesauce. I put them together and it was one of those OMG moments. Try it with wild salmon. Crush fresh blueberries and mango (purée if you want a smooth texture) and mix into the Tuk Meric. It is just delicious.

How to Use Tuk Meric

Tuk Meric is a traditional Khmer (Cambodian) lime and pepper dipping sauce. It is a simple yet extremely versatile sauce that is a wonderful compliment to almost any dish. Every day millions of Cambodians and other South Asians enjoy the dipping sauce that the late Anthony Bourdain raved about. Here are a few ways to enjoy this amazing sauce:

  • Dipping Sauce: Put the Tuk Meric mix into a small bowl and ‘Just Add Lime’ for one of the best dipping sauces you have ever tried. It truly has that WOW!factor that will surprise and delight your palate and your dinner guests. You can either dip your shrimp, meat or veg directly into the bowl or put a teaspoon on the side of your plate.
  • Sauces: Tuk Meric’s unique flavor pairs wonderfully with creamy dips and sauces. We often serve it as an appetizer on rice crackers with a bit of cream cheese, Brie or other soft cheese. Mix it into sour cream, mayonnaise, or cream cheese-based dips for an amazing ‘taste treat’.
  • Soups/Stews & Stir Frys: A chef in Kep, Cambodia shared his ‘secret pepper sauce’ with me. He prefaced the directions saying ‘…it is almost too easy but you really need Kampot Pepper to get the best result. (Kep is the province next to Kampot and the only other region that can use the mark ‘Kampot Pepper’). The chef told me to boil water, let it come off the boil and then pour over as many peppercorns as you need (5, 10, 20, depending on the size of the dish) and let it come to room temperature and voilá you have a pepper sauce. Simply pour the liquid with the softened peppercorns into your stew, soup or stirfry. What is great is that the softened peppercorns add an exciting ‘pepper pop’ that is really a culinary treat.
  • Eggs/Cheese: I love it with my boiled egg in the morning. Add Tuk Meric to macaroni and cheese, cheese dips, cheese balls, or scrambled, fried, or deviled eggs.
  • Drinks: Want to amaze your guests with a great martini, Bloody Mary, Casear ? Add whole peppercorns to vodka or gin and let sit for a few weeks to infuse the pepper flavour. Tuk Meric adds a new twist to a Bloody Mary or Caesar or for a non-alcoholic beverage add it to regular tomato or vegetable juice.
  • Desserts: A new customer shared a great dessert. Chill some papaya, add Tuk Meric and serve with vanilla ice cream. Yummy! Add Tuk Meric and strawberries to a chocolate mousse. Delicious!

Pairings with real zing:

Pork and fresh applesauce with Tuk Meric – toss an apple or two in a pot, cook until soft and add Tuk Meric. Just Fantastic!

Fish and blueberry/mango salsa – just chop up the fruits and add a couple/few teaspoons of Tuk Meric – OMG delicious

Turkey and cranberry sauce – my friend taught me this one. Soooooo Good!

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