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Ingredient Feature: Fish Sauce

fish sauce

Some ingredients are best when used sparingly, and fish sauce is certainly one of them. Its pungent odor and taste can be intimidating to someone who hasn’t cooked with it before. Don’t let the fishiness scare you off; when used properly, fish sauce can add a delicious umami, or a savory “fifth taste”, to your meal. You’ve probably eaten it without knowing it. Have you ever enjoyed kimchi or pad thai? They both include it!

What is fish sauce?

Popular in Thai and Vietnamese cooking, fish sauce is a condiment typically made from anchovies and fermented with sea salt. The sauce is left to age for a year to 18 months then bottled to be sold. You can find it at most grocery stores in the Asian section.

How can I cook with fish sauce?

If you’ve never cooked with fish sauce before, try the Ultimate Umami Burger recipe from White On Rice Couple. Using this salty sauce adds an extra layer of flavor without the fishy aftertaste.

For a summery side dish you can make in less than 10 minutes, try this Stir Fried Snap Peas recipe from Serious Eats. We love the combination of the tender and crunchy peas with the sweet and savory sauce. You can also put your chiffonade skills to work in this recipe, which includes a garnish of basil.

TIP: A little secret to keeping the fishy smell out of your meal while still enjoying the umami taste is to use a little lime juice! Add a little squeeze to your dish if you notice a little fishiness.


- Alivia Duran



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