A fish sauce has been used for many years to add a distinctive taste to dishes. The purest blends of fish sauce contain salt and fish only. It is made using a fermenting fish and shellfish. Have you been to a fish sauce factory? If yes, then you will never forget that smell.
Furthermore, it is now becoming a popular, versatile ingredient, although it is not available in every place. This condiment is used in Vietnamese and Thai cooking. It adds umami salt flavors to the dishes making the taste amazing.
However, some vegetarians don’t eat fish at all while others are allergic to fish. Below are the main substitutes for fish sauce.
Top 5 Alternatives To Fish Sauce
1. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is one of the best fish sauce substitutes for most cooks, even though the flavor profile isn’t the same. It consists of grain, soybean, and other ingredients that are already fermented. There is also a special yeast that is added to the soy sauce for facilitating the fermentation. It takes six months before the soy sauce is strained and bottled.
However, soy sauce features a darker flavor because of the caramelization, but instead of the fishy saltiness of the fish sauce, it has bitterness like that of molasses. Both fish sauce and soy sauce gives your food an intense savory flavor.
It is good to put a small amount of the sauce, and you can then add more if needed. For you to maintain quality flavor, it is recommended that you use one soy sauce part along with four anchovy fillets parts.
2. Shrimp Paste
This is a seafood-based seasoning that has a strong smell and flavor. The method of preparation of this shrimp paste is similar to the fish sauce production method. It is a fermented fragrant mass in curry pastes and often added to various Thai dishes for a salty and pungent kick. The pure versions of the sauce contain salt and shrimp only.
Besides, if you have been to a non-vegetarian Thai restaurant and you asked for Thai curry, then you might have probably eaten it. Many people are used to asking for a no-fish sauce, but they forget that the shrimp paste might still be lurking.
3. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce is an excellent substitute for fish sauce. It is fermented with a fish-base to add to improve the umami profile in your savory dishes. It contains blend tamarind and anchovies, garlic, onions, salt, sugar, molasses, spirit vinegar, vinegar, and malt. The flavor and spicing come as a result of adding pepper, pickles, lemons, cloves, and soy sauce.
The mixtures of those ingredients are poured in oak barrels then sealed for over three months to enhance the development of the flavors. However, the Worcestershire sauce flavor profile isn’t the same as that of plain fish. It consists of anchovies, and for those who are allergic to fish, a healthy homemade fish sauce alternative will be the best.
4. Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce is a fish sauce alternative made from seafood. It is made using an oyster extract. However, despite its name, it doesn’t taste like fish sauce. The oysters are boiled, and then the extract is reduced to form a thick concentrate. The modern versions found on the store shelves are created from the thickeners and other various ingredients for enhancing the flavor. Just like fish sauce, oyster sauce is used to make your dishes have better savory characteristics.
Unlike the fish sauce, which is watery, this oyster sauce is thicker like ketchup, but its thickness may affect its ease of use on some dishes. The oyster sauce has a dark brown color compared to the reddish-brown color of fish sauce.
5. Thai Thin Soy Sauce
This is also known as soy sauce in Thai and contains a savory and salty flavor of fish sauce, making it a good substitute. The sauce consists of preservatives, sugar, water, salt, wheat flour, and soybean. It works best for stir-fried dishes, noodles, and fried rice as the flavor blends well with other ingredients.
For you to maintain an excellent fish sauce taste, you should use a little amount of the Thai thin soy sauce along with two solid vegetable ingredients, fermented tofu, and salted yellow beans. You can as well add chili powder and salt as per your taste.
Once you have run out of the fish sauce and you want to find a better fish sauce substitute, especially for the boring dishes, you should choose the best that will bring out the delicious taste of your meal. Some of these fish sauce alternatives are also great for those who are allergic to fish sauce. The best substitutes for fish sauce enhance the distinctive flavor of your dishes. There are also alternatives for vegetarians who don’t eat fish at all. But it would help if you went for the substitutes with a long shelf life.