Top quality fish sauce is made from a mixture of fish (generally anchovies but sometimes squid) and salt, that sits and ferments for between twelve and eighteen months year to 18 months. It should contain only fish, water, and salt. Some of the cheaper bottled varieties also contain sugar which is not necessary, and other ingredients such as MSG.
Some cuisines use fish sauce as a condiment at the table, but most use it as an ingredient for cooking. In some countries the product comes in a concentrated block called belacan in Malaysia and patis in the Philippines, and these are strictly for cooking only. This type of flavoring goes back to Roman times, when a very similar product called garum was used in practically every dish.
Here's the crack Vietnamese fish sauce recipe:
And here is a classic Thai way to prepare a fish dish:
Both these recipes use commercial bottled fish sauce as the staple ingredient. You probably don't want to have fermenting anchovies around the house! When buying bottled sauce, look for one that comes from Thailand or Vietnam, that has only fish, water and salt as its ingredients and that comes in a glass bottle. Supermarkets carry fish sauce but you will get a much better choice if you visit an Asian grocery, and ask for help reading the label if necessary.
Tiparos Thai Fish Sauce 23 Oz. X 2 Blt.
Sale Price: $3.55
There are vegetarian "fish" sauces on the market, usually Vietnamese in origin. Their main ingredient is soybeans instead of fish.
For more video recipes, please visit: Fish Sauce Recipes Video Blog.
Healthy Boy Thai Soy Sauce with Mushroom - 10 oz bottle x 2
Sale Price: $9.85
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