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.
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.
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.