If you’re a fan of Thai and southeast Asian food, you know that fish sauce is a key ingredient to many dishes, giving them their unique flavor. Fish sauce, also called nuoc mam or nam pla, is made from fermented fish and salt. I thought it would be interesting to try to come up with a vegan alternative.
My pal Marie from Meandering Eats suggested that the key taste to capture was umami, the savory taste found in soy-based foods.
I took seaweed, soaked it, added miso for the salty umami flavor, and blended it. It has a briny taste that is a pretty reasonable substitute for fish sauce. Note that the final product is not particularly appetizing in color, so you might want to keep this a secret ingredient in your recipes.
Vegan “Fish” Sauce
Makes 1 cup
1/2 oz. (15 g) seaweed sheets (nori or another sheet-style seaweed)
2 T. (30 g) miso paste
1 C. (250 ml) filtered water
Soak the seaweed in the water for 30 minutes. Add the miso and put in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pass through a fine mesh strainer, saving the liquid (toss or compost what is caught by the strainer), and store in the refrigerator.