What Is Fish Sauce Made From
Fish sauce is an ingredient that is used in many Thai and Asian dishes. It is made from a mixture of fish , salt, and water which has then been fermented for a couple of months to 2 years.
As implied by its name, fish sauce has a fishy taste but it is also slightly salty with a touch of sweetness. Despite anchovies being the most commonly used fish to create this sauce, on occasions, it may be made from mackerel or shrimp. To create the sweet flavoring, it is sometimes complemented with caramel or fried rice.
To make the fish sauce, the anchovies are put into a large barrel and then left to hang out. As the bacterias begin to break down the fish a briny, savory liquid is produced which we know as fish sauce.
Although the fish flavor of this sauce is only slightly noticeable when used in moderate amounts, if it is excessively used in dishes then the flavor is going to become much more apparent.
Dinner Club A Thai Menu
This Thai Menu has stood the test of time and was just as fabulous using the fish sauce substitute. We made Yellow Curry with broccoli instead of chicken, and a memorable Cucumber Carrot Salad. I also learned that this store bought yellow curry paste is vegan as well as gluten free.
If you know of someone missing out on Asian recipes that use fish sauce please share this with them. In the comments below Id love to hear what you made with this vegan fish sauce substitute.
Can I Substitute Fish Sauce For Worcestershire Sauce
As fish sauce and Worcestershire sauce are both made from fermented anchovies they are very similar tasting which makes them worthy substitutes for one another.
When substituting fish sauce for Worcestershire sauce you should add it in the exact proportions as what the recipe calls for with the original sauce. Whilst fish sauce has more of a pungent taste, Worcestershire sauce is sweeter and is often flavored with onions and garlic.
It is also worth noting that it has a slightly thicker texture to fish sauce but it can still be added to the recipe in an equal ratio.
As both sauces differ slightly regarding how they taste, it is worth considering whether this is going to impact the overall flavor of your dish.
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How To Substitute For Fish Sauce: 5 Easy Swaps
You might not know much about it, but if youre a fan of Southeast Asian cuisine then youve definitely enjoyed a dash of fish sauce in your food. Some might describe the concoction as malodorous, but none familiar with fish sauce will contest its value as a cooking ingredient. Since the buzz around this punchy ingredient is growing, you might find yourself confronted with a recipe that requires a teaspoon of this liquid gold. But if you dont have any hanging out in your kitchen, dont worryyou can substitute for fish sauce with one of the options below .
Vegan Substitute Fish Sauce Ingredients
Check out the recipe below for a full list and theres a video for you at the top of the post too so you can watch me make it at home.
We use shitake mushrooms for their strong flavor which are simmered along with soy sauce and seaweed. The seaweed is the type used to wrap sushi or any dry crispy seaweed you can find in the shops if you prefer. This vegan sauce can be made in about 25 minutes or so.
The seaweed adds a host of minerals to the mix as well as a taste of the sea which complements the mushrooms quite wonderfully.
The soy sauce adds most of the umami taste and the salt obviously adds the salt taste. Bear in mind that this sauce is used as a condiment and is not meant to be ingested alone so your tasting as you are making will not be much help in deciding whether you have it right.
I like the extra touch of the roasted rice powder, shallots and garlic which top this recipe off and make it really something special.
Just trust my recipe and you will be good to go. Its really easy and quick with most of the time spent simmering the sauce to reduce it down to get the correct level of saltiness.
I do hope you enjoy this vegan fish sauce substitute and that it opens the doors to you experimenting with Thai food recipes you would otherwise not be able to make taste as intended because so many contain fish sauce which is obviously not vegan.
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What Can I Substitute For Fish Sauce
Have you stuck between your cooking process due to not having the main ingredient in your pantry? Hope! you are not going to ruin your whole recipe because of this reason. We are here with some best Substitutes for Fish Sauce. You just need to check what ingredient you have in your kitchen or pantry right and use this. Before going ahead please get to know the detailed information about Fish Sauce substitutes we have shared right here so that your recipe wouldnt be ruined.
1. Hoisin Sauce :
Hoisin Sauce is made from the fermented soybean along with rice vinegar, sesame seeds, salt, garlic, and other ingredients. This can be a great Fish Sauce alternative. The amount you should take is the same as the Fish Sauce, but you may find the difference in the taste due to sesame seeds. You can use it for salad dressing, stews, soups, and stir-fries in the same quantity as you to make them delicious.
2. Soy Sauce :
Soy Sauce is popular in many Chinese cuisines. It is made by fermenting soybeans, salt, water, and wheat. Soy Sauce has a rich umami flavor with a hint of sweetness due to amino acids in soybean. Soy sauce works perfectly with pad thai, fried rice, kimchi, and even ramen or pho. You can use Soy sauce as a Fish Sauce replacement in the same ratio of 1:1. For some dishes/recipes, Soy sauce might be too salty so reduce the extra amount of salt from your recipe. This is the best vegan alternative to Fish Sauce.
Dark Or Light Soy Sauce For Fried Rice
When it comes to fried rice, the choice between light soy sauce and dark soy sauce can be very subjective. The dark one will give your food a darker color that not everyone likes. On the other hand, dark soy sauce has a more intense flavor even if it generally contains less salt.
You can use both types of soy sauce for fried rice. However, the traditional recipes call for light soy sauce.
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Making Your Own Sort Of Fish Sauce
Before we get to the really adventurous stuff, lets discuss how you can whip up something akin to fish sauce, or Nam Pla, as its often known, for those of you who can eat fish, yet dont have any official fish sauce to hand.
As long as you have a tin of anchovies lingering somewhere in the depths of your cupboards and a splash of dark soy sauce, we have great news. You can have a go at mixing this impromptu sauce.
Soy sauce is famous for its umami flavorings and brings just enough saltiness to the equation to replicate that fishy delight. All you need to do is chop your anchovies as finely as you can, mix them together, and voila!.
Using the ratio of one anchovy fillet for every tablespoon of soy sauce, you should be able to replicate, if only to a minor degree, the essence of traditional fish sauce.
Soy Sauce + Rice Vinegar
The best substitute for fish sauce? A combination of soy sauce and rice vinegar. This helps to mimic the savory umami and tangy flavor of fish sauce. Use equal parts soy sauce and rice vinegar. If you happen to have miso on hand, you could stir in a little to mimic that funky flavor.
- For 1 teaspoon fish sauce, use ½ teaspoon soy sauce and ½ teaspoon rice vinegar.
- If you have it onhand, stir in a ½ teaspoon miso paste until it dissolves.
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Why Is Fish Sauce An Ingredient In Most Thai Food
Fish sauce imparts most of the salty taste in Thai food recipes and is used in preference to table salt that is used in many Western recipes. The fish sauce also imparts a strong savory taste to a dish known as the umami flavor and is popular in a wide number of Asian, and especially Thai, dishes.
In the majority of Thai food, the four staple tastes of salty, sour, sweet, and savory are combined together as a blend of flavors that trigger off all your taste receptors.
The fact that the sauce is so salty and has a strong savory taste means that when you are using it in a recipe you need to take care not to use too much. You cannot successfully remove salt from a finished dish nor easily reduced too much savory taste either.
Since we all prefer our food at varying levels of salt and savory, you need to find your own balance by tasting as you go and adding fish sauce incrementally to your desired taste.
Making Homemade Vegan Fish Sauce
If you cant find any of the options above, or you simply want to opt for less processed and healthier alternatives, then the best option is to make your vegan fish sauce at home.
The Minimalist Baker has created a recipe that is easy to replicate, and it only requires five ingredients, including dulse , dried shiitake mushrooms, tamari, chickpea miso, water, and sea salt.
The result looks amazing and has a very resembling taste.
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What Is Fish Sauce
As you can expect from its name. Fish Sauce is derived most of its flavor from fish. It looks similar to soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce. This sauce can be used in Chinese cuisine, soups, curry, stews, etc. Fish that have been coated with salt and fermented for up to two years. It gives the savory umami flavor to the recipe/dish. This umami flavor is extracted from its glutamate content.
Nutrient Profile of Fish Sauce:
Health Benefits of Fish Sauce:
- Fish Sauce provides a healthy source Of amino acids.
- Supplement your diet with natural vitamins.
- Fish Sauce adds a supplement to your diet with iron.
- It also provides a powerful source of omega 3.
- The delicious fish sauce helps to eliminate fishy odors.
How To Make Vegan Fish Sauce
Our plant-based version starts with combining ingredients with an earthy, ocean flavor with water and salt to get that distinctive fish-sauce base.
Plus, dulse a.k.a. Atlantic seaweed is rich in iodine and contains important nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin A, copper, protein, phosphorous, iron, and zinc. Winning!
Next we pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and press down on the mushrooms and dulse to get all the water out. Then we stir in chickpea miso and tamari for extra saltiness and depth of flavor. And its that easy!
We hope this recipe comes in handy! Its:
VersatileTangy& Perfect for Asian-inspired dishes and beyond!
Looking for ways to use your sauce? We would suggest adding a splash to our Singapore Noodles, Tom Kha Gai Butternut Squash Soup, or Easy Ramen. More recipes featuring this versatile sauce coming soon!
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and dont forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
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Reasons Why You Should Use A Fish Sauce Substitute
Wondering why you would want to use a plant-based fish sauce substitute? Here are 3 reasons why:
- Taste. While many people find that fish sauce adds a delicious flavor to many recipes, there are just as many people who find the fishy taste almost too overwhelming. Using a fish sauce substitute is a great way to find a middle ground.
- Less sodium. Fish sauce contains a significant amount of sodium per serving . By making your own homemade substitutes, you can easily cut the sodium content by 50% or more.
- Vegan-friendly. Making a fish sauce substitute with nothing but plant-based ingredients is a great way to keep it vegan-friendly. Anybody living a vegan lifestyle can easily use this recipe to make a variety of tasty dishes that need fish sauce.
How Do You Make Fish Sauce
Making the fish sauce from scratch doesnt have to be hard but it requires patience.
You will need 6 cloves of garlic, the zest from one lemon, 3 tablespoons of salt, 6 bay leaves, 2 or 3 tablespoons of black peppercorns, 1.5 pounds of fish such as smelt or herring, and 1 teaspoon of sea salt or sauerkraut brine.
The first thing you will do is mix the garlic with the lemon zest and the sea salt in a bowl. Separately slice the fish into half an inch pieces. Make sure to not cut it into pieces that are too big because it will be too chunky for the sauce.
Add the fish to the garlic and lemon zest mix along with the bay leaves and peppercorns. Pack it all into a mason jar, Or a similar glass container. Fill the container with sauerkraut brine but leave about an inch free on top of it because the composition will expand as it ferments.
Close the container with an airtight lid and leave it at room temperature for up to 3 days. After that, you can store it in the fridge for up to six weeks.
Finally, you will have to strain the mix until you obtain only liquid. This liquid is your sauce and you can store it in the freezer for as long as 6 months. With this simple recipe, you can have fish sauce freshly made at home at any time.
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How To Make A Vegan Fish Sauce Substitute:
My alternative and secret weapon? Seaweed!! The powerful seaweed mixed with the nutty/earthy flavor of wild dehydrated mushrooms really add the flavor that you may get in non-vegan alternatives that are often in Vietnamese or other Asian dishes. Heres how you make this vegan fish sauce:
2. To this bowl, miso and coconut aminos. Taste test and add ingredients as needed.
Other Vegan Alternatives To Fish Sauce
The fish sauce brands listed above are the easiest to find and highly rated. However, there are other plant-based fish sauce alternatives that I did not include on this list because they are much more difficult to find or had mixed reviews. These are listed here, and feel free to give them a try if you can buy them near you!
- VFISH: The Fishless Fish Sauce by the Chilli Mash Company is a product made in the UK, and therefore it is harder to find in the US. I saw that you can order this from Amazon in the US however, many reviewers had complaints about the shipping quality, and only half of the reviews were positive, 5-star reviews. If you live in the UK, try picking up this fishless sauce in person!
- Red Lotus Vegan Fish Sauce is primarily found in Australia, and it is much harder to find in the US. You can probably buy it from various online retailers if you wish, but it is not listed here because I only like to link to well-known and trusted online shops.
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Can I Use Hoisin Sauce Instead Of Fish Sauce
Fish sauce has a salty but sweet taste. Similarly, hoisin sauce has a sweet and salty flavor although it has hints of a barbecue flavor.
Sometimes, both are used as substitutes for one another, however, fish sauce doesnt quite share the same sweetness as hoisin sauce and so in some recipes, this added sweetness may be more noticeable than expected.
If the slightly different taste of hoisin sauce isnt going to complement your recipe, other alternatives can be used. Soy sauce is considered to be one of the best replacements for fish sauce.
It can be swapped out in equal amounts, although you may wish to add some other ingredients to enhance the flavor of soy sauce so that it bears a closer resemblance to the taste of fish sauce.
How Long Does This Vegan Fish Sauce Last
This vegan fish sauce substitute should last a good while in the fridge at least a couple of months. The high salt content acts as a preservative but when you have made it you should store it in a closed lid container in the refrigerator.
If you do make it then please let me know how you get on with it in the comments below.
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How Much White Soy Sauce Is Too Much
Although its far thinner and more refreshing than dark soy sauce, white soy sauce actually has a higher sodium content, so it makes sense to go easy when pouring on your food or dipping your food in it.
Pssst…its secret time again. Soy sauce is all well and good and holy cow is it delicious, but it doesnt really have any fishy qualities.
Just because youre fighting the good fight and saving all the animals doesnt mean you have to totally give up fishy flavors.
You can finely chop dried seaweed or kelp flakes and stir them into your light white soy sauce to imbue it with the essence of the ocean. A spill of lemon juice will also help punch up the pelagic flavors a bit.
You might also consider a very small amount of dill or tarragon, or if youre craving that sourness associated with fish sauce, a teaspoon of rice wine vinegar should do the trick. Failing that, why not drizzle in a bit of pickle juice from your gherkin jar.
Id also like to mention at this juncture that you can now buy vegan fish sauce! Thats right! Your eyes do not deceive you you read that correctly.
A brand called Thai Taste has cracked the code and has created a fish sauce that isnt haunted by the ghosts of a million poor tiny fish. Yay!