Fish sauce is a popular Asian condiment that imparts a salty, robust, ocean flavor that can make a great dish taste even better! It is commonly used to add depth of flavor and saltiness to dishes such as ramen, stir fries, marinades, dipping sauces, and more.
While coconut aminos can make a close plant-based substitution, sometimes you just need that extra “fishy” flavor to send a dish over the edge.
So, we developed a vegan & vegetarian-friendly fish sauce of our own! This 20-minute, 5-ingredient, 1-pan recipe is a pantry staple we highly recommend keeping on hand for Asian-inspired dishes and beyond!
Origins of Fish Sauce
Fish sauce (also called nuoc mam) is a fermented condiment made from fish and salt. It’s a common ingredient in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnamese cuisine. And it’s also found in Cambodian, Thai, Burmese, Filipino, and Lao dishes.
But Southeast Asia isn’t the only region of the world that has celebrated fish sauce. It was popular in ancient Greece and Rome where it was called garos and garum, respectively.
What’s not clear is who invented the condiment first or if it was invented simultaneously in both regions. You can take a deeper dive into the history of fish sauce here and here.
How to Make Vegan Fish Sauce
Our plant-based version starts with combining ingredients with an earthy, ocean flavor (dulse & dried shiitakes) 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 it’s that easy!
We hope this recipe comes in handy! It’s:
& 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 don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
5-Ingredient Vegan Fish Sauce
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 1/4 cup dulse (loosely packed // we like Maine Coast Sea Vegetables brand)
- 1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 ¼ tsp chickpea miso (or soy miso // ensure gluten-free friendly as needed)
- 1-2 Tbsp tamari (for depth of flavor // or sub coconut aminos for soy-free)
- To a small saucepan, add water, dulse, dried shiitake mushrooms, and sea salt. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on the mushrooms and dulse with a spoon to squeeze out any remaining liquid.
- To the bowl, add chickpea miso and tamari. Taste test and adjust as needed, adding more sea salt for saltiness, chickpea miso for umami flavor, and/or tamari for depth of flavor.
- Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month and shake well before use. Or, pour into an ice cube tray, freeze, and store in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.
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