Fish sauce, what it is and what it is eaten with. As well as a recipe for cooking at home

Fish sauce

In this article we decided to tell you about fish sauce. No, this is not a sauce for fish, it is a sauce made from fish, mainly anchovies. This fish has a peculiar taste, which is transferred to the sauce during the fermentation process.

Vietnamese fish sauce Nuoc Mam



Vietnamese fish sauce Nuoc Mam
Vietnamese fish sauce Nuoc Mam

Essentially, fish sauce is the extraction of juice from fish using salt. They are often used as a substitute for soy sauce and added to almost all dishes. This sauce is similar to garum sauce, which comes from ancient Rome. We will tell you about fish sauce, as they make it in Vietnam.

Nuoc Mam sauce is one of the most popular fish sauces. The country where this fish sauce is produced is Vietnam. The taste is very salty and the color is clear with a beautiful reddish color.

It is made from anchovies, which are caught in large quantities in Vietnam. On average, one ship catches about half a ton per night, but sometimes several tons. The sauce is mainly made from small fish, which I mix with sea salt. For about three parts of fish, take one part of salt.

By the way, the whole process can take from nine months to a year. 

The fermentation process of Vietnamese Nuoc Mam sauce occurs in special containers. In which the fish is once again covered with salt on top, covered with a bamboo mat and oppressed in the form of stones. Thereby preventing the fish from floating to the surface.



Fish sauce infusion vats in Vietnam
Fish sauce infusion vats in Vietnam

 And salt draws liquid from the fish, turning it into future sauce. Also, containers with fish are opened every day and the sun is allowed to warm the sauce a little and ventilate. This Vietnamese fish sauce is of the highest quality. All that remains is to filter and bottle the sauce.

Modern fish sauce production
Modern fish sauce production

There are two other types of fish sauce. The second grade comes with the addition of salt water to the remaining fish mass. And this sauce continues to arrive after adding water for another two or three months. Then it is also filtered and a second-rate fish sauce, nyok mam, is obtained.

And the worst third grade of sauce is obtained by boiling leftover anchovies. Those anchovies that remained after the production of the first two varieties. And to increase the aroma of the sauce, which is naturally lost, add a little first-grade sauce.

Here is the recipe for Vietnamese fish sauce Nuoc Mam. Be sure to try the Vietnamese rotten fish sauce. And it’s not a joke, it’s worth it.

Homemade recipe

As you can imagine, it’s difficult to make fish sauce at home yourself. But you can make a sauce that is close to the original taste. Feel free to replace anchovies with sprat or capelin; horse mackerel will also do. The main thing is to take sea fish.


  • Sea fish – 1 kg
  • Salt – 100-150 gr.

How to make fish sauce:

  1. Place the fish in an enamel or glass bowl and mix with salt.
  2. We put it in a warm place, in winter it can be closer to the radiator.
  3. Watch the sauce for about two months, stirring occasionally.
  4. Afterwards we strain and put it in the refrigerator for about 6 months.
  5. The sauce should separate.
  6. Then you need to carefully pump out the bottom layer of sauce and pour it into a bottle.

Now you know how and what to make homemade fish sauce from. It may be easier to buy it at the store, but it’s always more fun to make it at home yourself.

Canned fish sauce

Canned fish sauce.

Canned fish sauce is, of course, not anchovy fish sauce, but a very tasty gravy. For example with country-style potatoes or beans.

Can also be used as dipping sauce for French fries. And of course, rice, bulgur and buckwheat go well with fish. By the way, this sauce made from canned fish will go well with pasta.

But there is one rule: when you serve fish sauce with pasta, do not use cheese!

We will need:

  • Canned tomato – 1 can
  • Tomato paste – 2 tbsp. l.
  • Onions – 1 pc.
  • Garlic – 1 clove
  • Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp. l.
  • Greens – 0.5 bunch
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Sauce recipe:

  1. Chop the onion into small cubes and fry in vegetable oil until golden brown.
  2. Press the garlic with a knife and throw it into the onion, let it give off its aroma.
  3. When the onion is ready, add tomato paste and fry it thoroughly, stirring occasionally.
  4. Mash the fish with a fork; you can remove the bones if they are large.
  5. We take out our garlic, it is no longer needed, and add the mashed canned food and mix everything.
  6. Simmer for just a minute, you just need to warm the sauce slightly, then turn it off and add the herbs and ground pepper.
  7. Stir, add salt if necessary, and the sauce with canned fish is ready!

You can use absolutely any canned food, just like greens. In fact, you don’t even have to use fish in the tomato because the tomato paste will do the job.

Also try using Krasnodar sauce instead of pasta. And to add a noble touch to the sauce, you can add a little balsamic vinegar. This tomato-fish sauce is also good for mashed potatoes.

What to eat and where to add

For example, in Korea they use fish sauce for kimchi, their national vegetable dish. The Thais use fish sauce for tom yum, their famous soup.

We can add it to marinades for barbecue or dishes that use Worcestershire sauce. Substitute fish sauce for Worcestershire. There are uses of fish sauce as an additive to other sauces. For example, it can also replace soy sauce and vice versa.

Many dishes are combined with fish sauce. This includes meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, various salads and pasta, this is what fish sauce is eaten with. Sometimes it is included in the sauce teriyaki.

What can replace fish sauce? Soy and Worcestershire sauce, as we have already written, are very good substitutes, but at the same time complement each other.

Ссылка на основную публикацию