Recipes > Fish-Less Fish Sauce

Fish Less Fish Sauce


This plant-based fish sauce is just as powerful and flavorful as regular fish sauce, only it contains no fish. Instead it is made with seaweed, soy sauce, dried shiitake mushrooms, garlic, miso, peppercorns and water.
  • Serves: 1 1/2 cups
  • Active Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Views: 54,571
  • Success Rating: 100% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Preparing the Sauce

Preparing the Sauce
  • 35 g seaweed (such as kombu or wakame)*
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dried shittake mushrooms
  • 2 tsp miso paste
  • 3 cups water


To prepare the sauce, first smash the cloves of garlic using the side of a chef’s knife.

In a medium pot, add the garlic, miso, tamari and water and whisk to combine. Then add the peppercorns, dried mushrooms and seaweed. *Note: Seaweed can be found in most Asian markets and in many health food stores.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.

At this point, strain the liquid and return it to the pot. Let simmer again for another 20 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced a bit and is almost too salty.
If you have ever tasted regular fish sauce, you will know that it is super salty (and fishy), yet when used in a dish, it adds just the right balance of salty/fishy depth—otherwise known as “umami.” Essentially, that is what you are going for here.

Once done, remove from the heat and let cool. Then place into a glass container and refrigerate. Use 1:1 wherever a recipe calls for regular fish sauce.

Chef's Notes

For a thicker, no-cook sauce this Fermented Black Bean Fish-Less Fish Sauce is also really good. Besides the ingredients used, the other difference is that this fish-less sauce is not cooked and it will keep for a bit longer.


  • Alex  B
    Alex B
    Love this recipe! How long can I keep it in the fridge? Does anyone have a fish-less eel sauce recipe?
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Alex- This sauce has a very long shelf life given it's high salt content. It will easily last 6-12 months in the refrigerator. As for the fish-less eel sauce recipe? I have not seen one.
  • Alex  B
    Alex B
    I just found a great fish-less eel sauce recipe and it couldn't be simpler. It's equal parts sugar, soy sauce, and mirin. Reduce it until its the desired consistency and viola! Just remember to reduce over low heat because it can burn due to the high sugar content. This will last a while in the fridge.
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Thanks for sharing Alex! Keep up the good work and thanks again for Cooking with Rouxbe.
  • Thuy  N
    Thuy N
    Are these videos? I don’t see the links
  • Kirk B
    Kirk B
    Hi Thuy and thanks for your question. There isn't a video for this particular sauce but you can print the recipe out above. Thanks so much for learning with Rouxbe. Chef Kirk
  • Chana tova W
    Chana tova W
    hi chefs i see it says to add dried mushrooms but i dont see how much. thanx
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    2 Tbsp dried shiitake
  • Chana tova W
    Chana tova W
    anyone knows how much dried mushrooms i should add??
  • Denise W
    Denise W
    Would dried Portabella Mushrooms work???
  • Lauren L
    Lauren L
    Hi Denise. Yes. That would be a fine substitute although shitake have a unique flavor that is different than any other mushroom. Thanks for your question. Lauren
  • Jose arnel p. O
    Jose arnel p. O
    Is whole pepper corn same as black pepper?
  • Char N Rouxbe Staff
    Char N
    Hi Jose: Ground pepper comes from a whole pepper corn. Pepper corns come in white, black, white, or red. Hope you enjoy making the fish sauce, I use it when I make kimchi. Cheers-Char
  • Elisha H
    Elisha H
    Hi Chefs! Does it matter what miso you use?
  • Char N Rouxbe Staff
    Char N
    Hello Elisha H: If you have ever been to HMart and the wall of miso, there are so many selections to choose from. In my house, we keep red and white--but, I have found that any miso will add that umami and texture that you are seeking. If you are concerned about soy, there are many versions of chickpea miso. Hope this helps. The miso choice is all yours. Cheers and happy cooking. Char
  • Joy W
    Joy W
    Hi Chefs, Are the dried shiitake mushrooms in this recipe in powder form or whole? If whole mushrooms, are they cut or broken into small pieces to measure 2 tablespoons? Is there a rule of thumb for the amount of whole dried mushrooms in a tablespoon of dried mushroom powder? I have a great local source of dried powder but inconsistent availability for whole dried mushrooms. Thanks!
  • Sandy S
    Sandy S
    Hi Joy, dried shiitakes, broken up and measuring about 2 Tbsp would be ideal, but if you need to use powder, I would start by cutting it down to about 1/2 Tbsp, and adjust as necessary. Cheers! Sandy
  • Charisse L
    Charisse L
    It seems a waste to discard the seaweed and shitake after done. Do you have recommendations on what I can use it for? Unfortunately it has the peppercorns in it so not sure what it can be used for at this point.
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Charisse, consider slicing them and adding them to soup. You can rinse off the peppercorns (although some heat may remain).

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