I have a cupboard in my kitchen that is full of bottles of all shapes and sizes. It is where flavour goes to hide. There are oils, vinegars, sauces, salts, spices and more. I love them all but sometimes I forgot what is in there so occasionally I like to look through them to make sure I’m not forgetting anything.
The awesome thing is that many of them are quite versatile. No more bottles languishing in your cupboard because you bought it for this one recipe. Today I want to focus on Fish Sauce.
First off…what is fish sauce?
Fish sauce is an amber-coloured liquid extracted from the fermentation of fish with sea salt. ~ Wikipedia
Okay…got that? Where do you use it?
Once used primarily for Southeast Asian cuisine, more and more chefs have this savoury sauce in their pantries, using it for Classic French to American cuisine. Used judiciously, Fish Sauce unifies and rounds out flavours without calling attention to itself, bringing out the umami aspect of any dish.
Alrighty then. So what does that mean? Well, basically it means that you can use it anywhere you would normally use soy sauce or salt. It gives food that umami flavor that adds a salty richness. Start with just a little because you can always add more but too much can be…well…too much. Most recipes only call for a tablespoon or two so use that as an idea of how much to use.
Image posted with permission from FrugalMomEh
Here are some great ways to use fish sauce in cooking.
- Add a splash to your Caesar Salad Dressing recipe. There’s a reason Caesar dressing traditionally uses anchovies. It makes for a much more complex taste. Don’t have anchovies in the house? Add a splash of fish sauce to get the same effect.
- As a Gluten Free substitute for soy sauce. This may be brand dependent, so always check. Also do not substitute one to one. Add a bit, taste and then add more if needed.
- Make this deliciously spicy and salty dipping sauce perfect for fried foods or rice dishes.
- Add a bit of fish sauce to your favourite salad dressing or dip. The pungency of the fish sauce will not hang around but the depth of flavour will.
- Play around with a tried and true recipe to find something with a bit more flair. A great example of this is my friend Elizabeth’s (of FrugalMomEh) recipe for Thai Cocktail Meatballs. Meatballs are pretty standard fair but add a bit of green curry paste, a bit of fish sauce and you have something unexpected. She has entered her recipe in Thai Kitchen Canada’s #TKeveryday Recipe Challenge. See her amazing meatballs in the photo above.
- Add a bit to your favourite stir fry recipe.
- Add a dash to your favourite jarred tomato pasta sauce. It will give it a bit of a salty, briny taste that you will love.
- Add it to bitter veggies like rapini, broccoli and Brussels sprouts to balance their bitterness.
- Jazz up your favourite fried rice recipe in addition to your normal soy sauce mixture.
- Use fish sauce instead of Worcestershire in your Bloody Mary or Caesar cocktail.
What are your favourite ways to use fish sauce? What are some other less used condiments that you would like use ideas for?
This post has been sponsored by Thai Kitchen Canada. As always, all opinions are my own.