How to make Vegan Fish Sauce! – a great substitute for Asian fish sauce that adds depth and umami flavor to Asian dishes without the fish or shellfish! Gluten-free adaptable!

How to make Vegan Fish Sauce! - a great substitute for fish sauce that adds depth and umami flavor to Asian dishes. Gluten-free adaptable! | www.feastingathome.com #vegan #veganfishsauce #fishsauce #veganthaifood #thaifood

Fish sauce is a staple in many Asian recipes and many of you have asked for a good plant-based substitute for fish sauce.  Here’s a simple Vegan Fish Sauce Recipe –  that you can easily make at home.

It is totally plant-based and very easy! Make a batch and refrigerate – it will keep for months in your fridge – a meat-free, non-fishy substitute for fish sauce that has depth of flavor, and works well in most recipes that call for fish sauce!

After sampling sips of straight fish sauce (this tells you how much I love you!) this is the recipe that  I came up with.

 

What is a Vegan Substitute for Fish Sauce?

It’s basically a very condensed broth infused with soy sauce -shoyu, tamari or gluten-free Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, dried mushrooms, seaweed and a few garlic cloves. The broth is simmered and reduced, and flavors become very concentrated. What remains is a very intense salty briny liquid with a deep umami flavor, that to me, comes pretty close to fish sauce. The seaweed really hints of the sea and gives it the “fishiness” it needs without the fish!

Smoked Shoyu adds even more complexity if you can track it down. Grilled or roasted onions, black garlic or roasted garlic add even more depth. You can get pretty crafty when you start thinking about creating depth and umami, so please, feel free to experiment and play around.

How to make Vegan Fish Sauce:

Here is the simple recipe for Vegan Fish Sauce and of course feel free to embellish, leaving notes for other readers in the comments.

How to make Vegan Fish Sauce! - a great substitute for fish sauce that adds depth and umami flavor to Asian dishes. Gluten-free adaptable! | www.feastingathome.com #vegan #veganfishsauce #fishsauce #veganthaifood #thaifood

You’ll need dried mushrooms, and I prefer dried shiitake mushrooms – but know they may be hard to track down for some. I also tried this with cremini mushrooms as you see here, and they were pretty good- but the dried mushrooms added much better flavor.

In a nutshell,  you’ll make a very condensed broth of dried mushrooms, kombu seaweed, soy sauce (or use GF Bragss or Shoyu) and garlic, simmering this down until the flavors intensify.

Let this steep, preferably 24 hours (or longer) then strain!

How to make Vegan Fish Sauce! - a great substitute for fish sauce that adds depth and umami flavor to Asian dishes. Gluten-free adaptable! | www.feastingathome.com #vegan #veganfishsauce #fishsauce #veganthaifood #thaifood

Pour it into a sealable glass bottle or jar and store in the fridge!

This fish sauce substitute will keep for months in the fridge and actually gets more flavorful with time. I’ve had mine for over a year!

 

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Vegan Fish Sauce Recipe

Vegan Fish sauce

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: sauces, condiments,
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

How to make Vegan Fish Sauce! – a plant-based substitute for fish sauce that adds depth and umami flavor to Asian dishes. Gluten-free adaptable!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ cup soy sauce– shoyu, tamari, or Braggs liquid amino acids
  •  1/2 cup dried mushrooms (like dried shiitakes)
  • 1   4 x 8 inch sheet of dried  kombu (seaweed) or wakame seaweed
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2  ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • optional additions- 1 fat shallot sliced, grilled (charred) onion, roasted garlic, black garlic, small splash rice wine, sherry, or rice vinegar. Smoked Shoyu if you can find it, is a great option for the soy sauce.

Instructions

Bring all to a simmer in a medium pot, uncovered, over medium heat. Simmer on low until reduced by half.  You should have about 2 cups of liquid.

If you have time, let this steep overnight, or up to 24 hours, covered on the counter. Then strain and pour into a clean glass bottle or  jar.

***If liquid is less than 2 cups, add water to make it 2 cups. This will ensure the right amount of saltiness.

Store in the fridge and use as you would fish sauce, one to one.


Notes

The Vegan Fish Sauce will keep up to one year in the fridge. Probably longer. 🙂

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
  • Calories: 1
  • Sugar: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 206.2 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.2 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: vegan fish sauce, fish sauce substitute, plant based fish sauce, asian fish sauce, how to make fish sauce, how to make vegan fish sauce, homemade fish sauce

 

 

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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Comments

  1. You state that salt content is sort of critical. Yet you use tablespoons of a particular type of salt that is only available in the USA.
    Grams of any salt (and all critical ingredients) would be much more useful and appreciated.

    1. Hi Aristogiton -You can use any salt you like. 1 teaspoon salt is roughly 6 grams. Hope this helps?

  2. I’m looking forward to making this. I can’t find the dried seaweed sheets but I did find roasted seaweed snacks. They contain oil and salt. Could I use this as a substitute?

  3. Thank you so much for this recipe! This is like magic! I used to live in the UK where I could buy it in stores but here, it’s impossible to find. Tomorrow for dinner I will make your Thai green curry soup so I will try it for the first time!
    I was also wondering if it can replace oysters sauce? I know that it is thicker but in terms of flavor?

    1. Are you looking for a vegan substiute? I’d try soy sauce or even miso. It needs some salty depth.

  4. What’s the shelf life on this sauce? I don’t want to get botulism but I assume since this does not have oil it should be OK with just the garlic?

    1. Yes, correct. I’ve had some in the fridge for 8 months and it is still good.

  5. Thank you so much for a Vegan fish sauce that can easily be adapted to be gluten or even soy free (via coconut aminos or the like). We use tamari since I have a gluten intolerance. Have made this fishless sauce/seaweed sauce three times now. Letting it steep overnight and filtering it right away. Letting it steep overnight is definitely a must! Gives a deeper color and richer flavor. A little goes a long way when using it. Recently I made it with kelp sheets instead of kombu, and I actually like the flavor even more. I usually use a 1 oz package of dried shiitakes, because they are expensive if bought organic. Not sure how many cups that comes out to. We always add a shallot or a quarter of red onion or both! The other thing I love about this sauce is that it can stand in and add those umami flavors that processed Chinese or Asian sauces do in recipes without the preservatives, caramel color, wheat gluten and added sugars. Thank you again!

  6. We need to watch our salt intake. What do you suggest for a lower salt
    alternative to fish sauce and soy sauce? Thank you very much.

    1. Coconut aminos have less salt. We use it in place of soy sauce. Just know it is also slightly sweet, so if the recipe calls for sugar, I reduce the amount.

  7. This is my go-to vegan fish sauce. My husband became a vegetarian 2 years ago after having increasingly horrible digestive issues.

    He is a huge lover of Asian cuisine and we found your sauce and make it in large quantities. We store it in bpa free squirt bottles in our fridge.

    I am half Filipino and use it on any native dish that calls for “Patis”, our traditional fish sauce.

    I even use it in meat-based dishes to add extra flavor. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

    1. This is the recommendation that I needed. I use Patis to make Filipino food and there’s just something totally different about it. If you’re happy with this sauce I’ll make it.

  8. How do you measure 1/2 cup dried shiitakes? Lots of air around those stuff caps & stems! Can you tell us the weight, please?

  9. Wow! Liquid gold, I add both roasted garlic & greatly roasted red onion. So happy to now be able to make my favourite Thai dishes for my vegan and shellfish allergic friends. This fish sauce recipe is even better than the real stuff, cheers

  10. Our vegan fish sauce recipe: we use 1 fresh pineapple (cut in small pieces) , 200g black bean (roasted) , 100g shiitake mushroom, brown sugar, salt (depends on how saltines every one likes and 2 litter water..simmering for almost 2 hours anh filtered …put in dry clean bottles can last up to 4 months

    1. Please provide a weight for the pineapple to use. “1 fresh pineapple” is too vague. Specific weights and volumes of other ingredients are provided.

  11. Is 2 1/2 TABLESPOONS of salt correct in the vegan fish sauce? Seems like a lot. There’s already salty soy sauce in it.

  12. Looks great ! Could I make this without garlic to still get the “fish sauce” result ? Due to garlic intolerance 😔. Or suggest a replacement of the garlic? Thank you !

  13. Waiting on my dried shiitake mushrooms to come in the mail; how long does the sauce keep in the fridge once made?

  14. First, thank you for your wonderful recipes! You have really helped us get through quarantine with sanity. In our household we have both fish and nightshade allergies. Can we make this vegan fish sauce without mushrooms? Is there a substitute? Thank you!

    1. Hey Judy- thanks so much. You could- but not quite sure you would get the depth and flavor here without mushrooms? You could try adding more seaweed, and maybe miso?

    1. Well yes, there is no fish in it, because it is vegan, but in recipes, it is a good substitute.

  15. So I think I used too much seaweed. It was hard to judge an amount since I only had wakame flakes instead of a sheet to work with but boy did it expand to take over the pot. Regardless this recipe seems pretty forgiving because the end result still tastes awesome. Obviously it does not taste like fish sauce but it packs a powerful umami punch which is basically the point anyway. Thank you for providing a great ingredient to add to my vegetarian dishes that were juuuust missing something.

  16. I think I need to try this again! I used fresh cremini mushrooms, and added a sliced shallot and splash of rice vinegar. Even after steeping overnight, it simply tastes like extra-extra salty soy sauce. I think next time I will try dried shitake, bring to a boil before simmering, and use tamari rather than soy sauce, and possibly reduce the salt by a tablespoon as well. Wish me luck!