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!
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.
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.
Let this steep, preferably 24 hours (or longer) then strain!
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!
- 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.
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.
The Vegan Fish Sauce will keep up to one year in the fridge. Probably longer. 🙂
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