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Old 04-02-2007, 09:58 PM   #1
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Fish Sauce Substitute?

I'm sorry if this is a repeat ... I did a search for "Fish Sauce" and didn't find anything that answered the question I have.

I have a recipe that I'd like to try from this month's "Cooking Pleasures" for Red Pork Curry. The ingredients are (please tell me if I'm breaking any rules by posting these and I'll change it):

vegetable oil, thin cut pork, shallots, red curry paste, coconut milk, 2 TBL. ASIAN FISH SAUCE, lime juice, sugar, lime peel and basil (Thai or regular).

First, I live in a community of 2,000 - my dad's grocery doesn't carry fish sauce. Second, I'd rather not try to find it at the Asian market 45 miles away or do a special order just for 2 tbls.

SO - is there an alternative? I'm guessing it is added for the salt (based on other posts I've read) BUT does it add another flavor that I won't be able to replicate? Suggestions?

Thank you in advance!

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Old 04-02-2007, 10:19 PM   #2
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It isn't just for the salt. It has a fishy flavor component. I'd try a couple of anchovie filets.
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Old 04-02-2007, 10:32 PM   #3
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Personally I do not think there is any viable substitute. It has a very unique flavor. Why not order it online? It will last forever and once you use it you will want to use it more.
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Old 04-02-2007, 10:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
Personally I do not think there is any viable substitute. It has a very unique flavor. Why not order it online? It will last forever and once you use it you will want to use it more.
+1

There is a reason the sauce is so pungent. Worse case scenario, a little sake and sal****er redux, and a smelt puree. Ultimately there is no sub for fermented fish juice, rendered from sun sat barrels.
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TATTRAT
+1

There is a reason the sauce is so pungent. Worse case scenario, a little sake and sal****er redux, and a smelt puree. Ultimately there is no sub for fermented fish juice, rendered from sun sat barrels.
Yes just to think how they make it sicks me out but i still eat it :). We have a huge asian market where i live and they even have a fish sauce with fish head s in it...yuck!! Anyways its one of the most traditional taste with thai food and in almost everything. In a pinch i would use soy sauce or maybe you could use soy sauce and anchove in a blender but i would definitly get the real stuff if you can.

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Old 04-03-2007, 04:37 AM   #6
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As someone who cooks a lot of Asian meals--NO WAY JOSE! there is NO appropriate substitute for fish sauce--follow GB's advice and order it online--the best is made with anchovies from what I've read and my own experience. It's a flavor ingredient that can't be substituted as the stuff is fermented. Good luck!!!!
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:16 AM   #7
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There's definitely no substitue for it, IMO. A small amount can really make or break the whole dish.
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:53 AM   #8
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shrimp paste will work just as well and also keep forever, you need to buy the Solid blocks of it, it`s far more concentrated than the fish sauce and the smell will knock you back unless you`re used to it, but if you chip a little off and dissolve it in hot water, you Never will know the difference in the dish :)
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:35 AM   #9
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fish sauce is awesome. once you use it, you will be hooked. buy a bottle online.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:48 AM   #10
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Like everyone else says, there is no good substitute.

If you have any interest in making Thai food at home (as you seem to be doing), you really need to buy a bottle. It's easily avialbale on line, in asian stores or in many large supermarkets (if there is a larger town near you).

I recommend Three Crabs brand.

Just a question for you: if you can get red curry paste how come you can't get fish sauce? They are sold inthe same places.
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