So why make vegan fish sauce? Well if you like to make your own vegan Thai or Vietnamese food, fish sauce is a very common ingredient and gives these cuisines a nice flavour. I used this vegan fish sauce recipe for using in Nuoc Cham (the sauce used for Bun Chay aka vermercelli salad bowls) and you can also use it to season fresh Thai papaya salad. (It’s made with green unripe papaya and is more like a raw squash)
I found this recipe online for vegan fish sauce and ordered some mushroom flavored soy sauce from Amazon because I wasn’t sure if I could find some at the store. If you have access to an Asian specialty store they will probably have it too. As I hadn’t tried mushroom soy sauce before I didn’t know if it was much different than regular dark soy sauce. It actually doesn’t taste much different to me (aside from being super super salty compared to the low sodium soy sauce I normally use). You can use regular dark soy sauce instead if that’s all you can find, as it will probably come out pretty similar. Make sure it’s dark soy sauce and not light or low sodium soy sauce for this recipe.
For my purposes I reduced the original recipe by 1/3 as I only had a small empty tamari bottle to store the sauce in. So feel free to make as much as you care for but this recipe below makes about 1 cup. I used this in my Nuoc Cham sauce for my Bun Chay recipe.
Vegan Fish Sauce Recipe
Makes 1 cup
1/2 cups shredded wakame (find it at the Asian or health food store by the Nori)
2 cups filtered water
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1/3 cup mushroom flavored dark soy sauce, regular soy sauce or GF tamari
1 tsp of genmai miso (it’s already pretty salty so this is optional)
1. Combine wakame, garlic, peppercorns and water in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Strain and return the liquid back to the pot. Add soy sauce, bring back to a boil and cook until mixture is reduced and almost unbearable salty. Remove from heat and stir in miso.
2. Decant into a bottle and keep in the refrigerator. Use one-for-one to replace fish sauce in vegan recipes.
Wakame is the seaweed used often in seaweed salad in Japanese restaurants. It’s shredded into little strips. So if you’ve ever tried seaweed salad you’ll be familiar with it.