Fish sauce is an important element in Thai curries, as it adds depth of flavor, a lot of saltiness, and that special stench of the sea.
Fish sauce normally contains two ingredients, and two ingredients only: fish and salt. It’s made by fermenting generous amounts of salt and fish (typically anchovies) together in large barrels under the sun until the fish break down into a slushy. From there, the slushy is strained through cloths, bottled, and sold.
Fish sauce can’t simply be left out without being substituted by something with an equal amount of ocean-esc depth, because that “special stench of the sea,” is added to all Thai curries in the form of fish sauce & shrimp paste, except for some yellow curries.
While there are a few quality vegan fish sauces out there on the market, they’re often pricey, hard to find, and contain added sugars, which is why we’re showing you how to make a vegan fish sauce that contains every important element of its original predecessor, including:
- A light sweetness
- A light acidity (derived from the fermentation of fish)
- Sea flavor
- Unbearable saltiness
This recipe, as well as all fish sauces, contains extremely high levels of sodium.
That’s okay. In moderation, this condiment has the ability to season an entire dish, which is exactly how it should be used.
For sweetness, we add golden monkfruit sweetener from Lakanto, which is made from erythritol (gut bacteria friendly alcohol sugar) and monk fruit extract. We used this sweetener in place of stevia because it has a brown sugar-like body to it, which adds richness in color, as well as flavor. If you can’t find any, sub for an equal amount of other sugar replacement such as Just Like Sugar, xylitol, stevia powder, or simply leave it out! The key ingredients here are seaweed, water, and salt. If you have those three things, you’ll be able to make a killer vegan fish sauce.
And, in case you’re curious, we don’t get payed to recommend brands. We just want you to be able to achieve results similar to our own :’)
All the best,
Ryan & Kim
Vegan Fish Sauce
An umami, sea-y, salty alternative to fish sauce!
- 10 g dry wakame seaweed*
- 1 c water
- 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/4 tsp golden monk fruit sweetener
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- Bring seaweed and water to a boil in small pot. Turn heat to medium, and cook until only 1/4 c water remains, 10-15 minutes.
- Stir seaweed water together with remaining ingredients.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two months.
*Make sure the seaweed you purchase contains no added ingredients. *If you can’t find wakame, 10 grams of any pure seaweed will work. *Being that dry wakame seaweed contains lots of air, it’s difficult to measure via volume (tablespoon, cup, etc). For those of you without a scale, I’m going to update this post with a way to measure it volumetrically via soaking it in water, which allows the seaweed to be pressed into a measuring cup.