8 Great Substitutes for Fish Sauce (Including One In Your Fridge Right Now)
Fortunately, we’re here to let you in on a game-changing secret: Worcestershire makes a more than acceptable replacement for fish sauce in most soups, sauces, and your favorite recipes. And most likely, you have it in your fridge right now.
Here are eight easy & delicious substitutes for fish sauce.
1. Worcestershire sauce
Given that both Worcestershire and fish sauce are made from fermented anchovies, they have similar flavors.
Worcestershire is on the sweeter side; its other flavors such as anchovies, tamarind, vinegar, cloves, onion make it a quick alternative to fish sauce.
Swap Worcestershire for fish sauce at a 1-to-1 ratio.
2. Soy Sauce + Anchovies
Combine soy sauce with a finely-minced anchovy fillet, and you are good to go. Mix the soy sauce and anchovies at a 1:1 ratio.
Mince one anchovy fillet per tablespoon of fish sauce and then adjust according to taste. Anchovies added to a recipe will add the savory saltiness you’re looking for. However, anchovies can be a little overpowering for some people, so use them sparingly.
Vegan Substitutes for Fish Sauce
Fish sauce is that exceptional, secret ingredient that completes any dish superbly. But how can a vegetarian (or vegan) get in on this amazing ingredient when cooking their favorite Thai or Vietnamese food? Can they have some of that delicious savoriness, too?
Yes! Keep reading for a great vegetarian/vegan fish sauce substitute that uses some exciting ingredients.
Fish sauce is famous for its umami, or depth of flavor and savoriness. However, most umami-rich foods are animal-based, such as bacon or fish.
Thankfully there are several vegan-friendly foods that also offer an umami flavor. Seaweed, mushrooms, and miso, and fermented foods are loaded with umami, so soy sauce is high on that list as well.
4. Vegan Fish Sauce
Vegan fish sauce is so close to the real thing. The ingredients for most vegan fish sauce include seaweed, garlic, peppercorns, mushroom soy sauce (or Shiitake mushroom broth), and miso.
The seaweed and miso will bring an umami flavor that fish sauce adds to dishes, while the garlic and peppercorns bring savory flavors.
5. Coconut Aminos
Coconut Aminos made by Coconut Secret is a soy-free alternative to soy sauce and a great substitute for fish sauce. The ingredients include Certified Organic Coconut Sap-naturally aged and blended with Sun-Dried Mineral-Rich Sea Salt.
6. Soy Sauce + Chopped Seaweed
The saltness of soy sauce combined with the rich umami flavor in seaweed is an easy vegan substitute for fish sauce.
7. Soy sauce + Vinegar
Combine soy sauce, and vinegar is a close alternative to fish sauce. Mix 1/2 soy sauce and 1/2 vinegar can be rice vinegar or any other vinegar except balsamic.
8. Tamarind Paste
Tamarind paste is made from a sour, dark, sticky fruit that grows in a pod on a tamarind tree. While some cuisines use tamarind paste to make desserts and even candy, it is primarily used in savory dishes in Thai cooking.
Classic pad Thai sauce is made with tamarind, as are some Thai curries and seafood dishes. Indian curries also call for tamarind. It is also a common ingredient in Indian and Mexican cuisines and Vietnamese, Latin, and Caribbean cooking and it is a key ingredient in Worcestershire sauce, contributing to the distinctive tang.
What is fish sauce?
Fish sauce offers a whirlwind of flavors to any dish. Its salty, fishy, slightly sweet, and funky flavors make it a superstar of ingredients in many Southeast Asian recipes.
How is fish sauce made?
Fish sauce is made through the process of fermenting fish, most commonly anchovies. Small fish like anchovies are covered in salt and fermented anywhere from a few months to a few years. During this time, the bacteria breaks down the fish, resulting in a briny, fishy, savory liquid.
Fish sauce has a distinct, pungent fishiness flavor flanked by a salty, briny, caramel sweetness. It’s an ingredient that gives a pop when added to marinades, salad dressings, and stir-fry’s, and it’s just as valuable for non-Asian recipes too.
A dash of fish sauce can boost salty, savory flavor in sautéed greens, pasta, chicken, soups, or broths.
Get creative with this list of substitutes and mix in sauteed mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, garlic, or a splash of lime juice with soy sauce to create the flavor you are seeking.
I hope this list of ideas will make it easy for you to make a suitable substitute when you run out of fish sauce.