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Sep 17, 2001 07:27 PM

Vegetarian fish sauce recipe?

  • l

I'm looking for an actual recipe (with measurements, not just ingredient list) for vegetarian fish sauce. As I don't really know what the real sauce tastes like, and therefore can't just throw something together, actual measurements/proportions would be greatly appreciated. Authentic Thai or Vietnamese also appreciated. BTW, I'm not asking for veg. oyster sauce, which is already available in Asian markets.

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  1. I have from a reliable source that vegetarian fish sauce is easily available at the large Vietnamese groceries in OC. If you are far away from there then perhaps you can get it other places such as Hollywood Thai Town. But anyway it does exist commercially (look for the buddhist food symbol).

    I was also given a quick-and-dirty recipe for fake fish-sauce: one measure vinegar, one measure brown sugar, 2-3 measures water, and 1/4 measure salt. There was some debate about how much salt... but what you get in the end should be pretty salty. I'm sure there are more elaborate concoctions, but this is a very rough approximation used when nothing else is available.

    3 Replies
    1. re: C. Sprouse

      Thanks. I'm also interested in recipes that call for fermented bean sauces or fermented tofu. . . I've come across this suggestion a couple of times.

      I do travel to OC fairly frequently and I've got a good tip on 99 Ranch Market, which is throughout LA and OC, and apparently has everything an Asian cook could need.

      1. re: Lisa

        The 99 ranch market on Bolsa in Little Saigon should have what you are looking for.Try the Bolsa Supermarket about 1/2 east of the ranch market. Good luck.

        1. re: Jed

          Thanks, Jed. I'm going to try 99 Ranch next time I'm in OC, and I'll try the other one as well.

    2. HOME MADE VEGETARIAN FISH SAUCE: So, I've noticed that a lot of asian dishes call for fish sauce, and if you're a true vegetarian like me you always feel like that puts the recipe just out of reach. I've come up with my own vegetarian fish sauce and I think it's 99% close the real thing.

      I based the main part of it off the Wikipedia Vegetarian Fish Sauce recipe, but I felt the recipe there lacked a few things which put it into the realm of "tastes like the real thing" but it's 100% VEGETARIAN.

      2 - cups shredded dried seaweed
      4 - cups water
      3 - cloves garlic (smashed but not minced)
      1 & 1/2 - Tbsp whole black peppercorns
      1/2 - cup soy sauce
      2 - tsp lime juice (concentrate OK)
      2 - tsp lemon juice (concentrate OK)
      2 - Tbs vinegar
      3 - tsp sugar
      1 - tsp ground ginger
      1 - tsp ground garlic
      1/4 - tsp chili powder

      You can find the dried seaweed at just about any asian market. Personally I prefer the type that shredded kinda small versus the large sheets of seaweed. I think that when it's shredded it makes for a richer sauce.

      1. In a large bowl, add 2 cups dried seaweed + 4 cups water
      2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
      3. Add garlic cloves + peppercorns + soy sauce + lime juice + lime juice
      + vinegar + sugar + ginger + garlic powder + ginger + chili powder
      4. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to medium and cook for 30 minutes
      5. You can adjust the salt level by adding water
      6. Allow to cool
      7. Strain into a container

      Straining it is the key. Once it's strained you can funnel it into a large water bottle, and label it "Veggie Fish Sauce" or as it's called in Vietnam "Nuoc Mam Chay" If you've ever tasted the real fish sauce (in your pre-veggie days) you can sample a tiny bit and see just how close to the real thing it really tastes. But caution...this stuff is stinky and strong! Just like the real fish sauce.

      Hope you like it.
      Ms Nadja Dee Witherbee
      Seattle WA

      4 Replies
      1. re: nadjadee

        I made this today. A quick taste (I'm not veggie but my daughter is, so I know what it should taste like) seems good. I didn't do a side by side, but it does have that pungent "stinkyness". I'll just note that I did a half recipe since the amounts seemed large, but ended up with just a cup or so (a lot boils away or is absorbed by the seaweed). So next time I'd do a full recipe to get perhaps 2 cups.

        1. re: nadjadee

          Thanks for this. It's as close to the original as I have ever tasted, and seems to get even better with a bit of age. My wife is Vietnamese and it almost fooled her seasoned taste buds!

          1. re: nadjadee

            What kind of seaweed do you recommend? Kombu or nori or???


            1. re: nadjadee

              Thank you so much nadjadee for posting this. I just made it and it's spot on. :)

            2. Nadjadee: very creative. Thanks! While I'm no longer vegetarian (was for over 20 years), I'm not a fish fan, so your concoction sounds like a winner.