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Dec 1, 2009 06:07 PM

Fish Sauce - What have you been putting it into?

I've gotten to where I'm using fish sauce for just about everything this side of cookies. I never make a stew, savory sauce, or soup any more without it. Tonight's blue cheese dressing included, what else, a nice spritz of Golden Boy. And a Caesar salad just wouldn't be the same without puting some in there.

I'm wondering what are the oddest, most creative, ways that others have been incorporating fish sauce into their ingredients lists.

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  1. hi john, i don't want to rain on your parade, but i think people on these boards are about "fish sauced out" in other threads.

    that being said, i use it to bump up my crab cake mixture.

    3 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      I hear you. And I myself participated in some of those threads (there were some last Sept or so). But mostly they seemed to be talking about best brands, whether it's yucky, how important it is in Thai and Vietnamese food, and so on. My thought here was more to bring out ways folks are actually using it in Western not Asian dishes, ie specific dishes. I like your crab cake idea. Up here in the mountains we don't see much crab, but I use it in salmon patties, which are a much-loved comfort food for us.

      1. re: johnb

        i love salmon patties, too. in fact, now that you remind me...... ;-).

        i'll try a splash of fish sauce in them. what else do you use?

        my mom's were dead simple, but i'd scarf them up off the paper towel, where they sat after their hot-on-the-town tour of the cast iron skillet.

        1. re: alkapal

          I would say crumbled Ritz crackers and a touch of good mustard are the keys, besides the FS.

    2. The garbage can. My wife and son loathed it the first time I added a tiny bit to a dish that called for it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jmckee

        Hmmmm, what kind of fish sauce were you using?

        A tiny bit of high-quality Thai / Viet fish sauce should disappear almost completely, leaving a bit of salt and umami without any overtly noticeable - let alone unpleasant - distinctive flavor or aroma.

        One time I used Squid Brand fish sauce as the only source of salt in a pot of chicken soup; there was a bit of that "fish sauce funkiness." But a dash or two? Especially if you use something really mild like Golden Boy? Pretty hard to detect.

      2. I put fish sauce in my pho-it gives it a nice flavor kick. When it's not on the table at the restaurant I ask for it.

        1. I use it in all my asian cooking, but this thread is about western dishes, so...

          I use a tablespoon of fish sauce in a pot of spaghetti sauce, I'll add a little to pesto sauce, remoulade (an idea I got from another poster in this forum), a couple of squirts go into almost ANY marinade I make, I'll add a splash to a salad that uses any vinaigrette dressing, ceasar dressing, I'll add a squirt to egg salad when I mix it, and I'll even make a garum with fish sauce, sliced hot peppers, minced garlic and minced cilantro spooned on served, sliced medium rare flank steaks or even on beef roasts - it REALLY wakes them up! A half teaspoon added to a bowl of cream of mushroom soup is yummy as well as any other cream or clear broth soup. It's a natural glutamate which gives umami.

          I DON'T use fish sauce in desserts, breads or savory pies like chicken or beef pies which benefit from having a simpler flavor to begin with.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Cremon

            cremon, your "garum" makes me wonder how fish sauce would work in a chimichurri for a nice medium rare garlic sirloin.

            1. re: alkapal

              Alkapal, I bet it would be delicious!!

              1. re: Cremon

                one of the tastiest steaks i ever ate was at some brazilian steakhouse in fair oaks mall in northern virginia -- called "texas de brazil," i believe. their garlic sirloin is a-ma-zing -- juicy, garlick-y, beefy --- and they offer chimichurri on their salad bar.

                here's a recipe for the steak:
                i'm going to try your idea once i get my grill innards fixed up -- and the weather improves. ( i wish i had someone to make that steak for me all the time!).

                1. re: alkapal

                  Let me know what you think when you try it.

          2. The lion's share of fish sauce in our house goes into Pork Burgers Indochine. We make full- and slider-sized, and occasionally meatballs in lettuce wraps, but there are rarely leftovers.


            2 Replies
            1. re: mamaciita

              Mamacita - thank you for recipe for your pork burgers!! That reminds me of small burgers I used to eat in Bangkok that were made with pork and all they had in them (other than ground pork) were black pepper, garlic, a little minced cilantro and fish sauce.

              1. re: Cremon

                You're in for a treat! We made the patties into meatballs with lettuce wraps for a party, and they were devoured.

                I keep promising myself I'll make extra and freeze, but there are never leftovers. . .