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Old 01-15-2008, 05:11 PM   #1
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Anchovies, can I use Thai Fish Sauce instead?

I would like to work some Anchovy into my cooking, like Molto Mario and others do. Adding maybe just one fillet to give "background" flavor. However, I never have fillets on hand, and I tried anchovy paste once, but it really only tasted "salty". I do keep Thai Fish Sauce on hand for soups. Does anyone know if it will work and what amount? Maybe 1tsp. = 1 fillet?
Thanks, Eric Austin TX.

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Old 01-15-2008, 05:15 PM   #2
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Hey Eric,,, do you have World Market's down in Austin, we have them here in the DFW area and I was able to get anchovies that way. I don't know how well fish sauce would substitue. But I do use the paste from time to time in dressings and what not and just recently found the bottled variety of anchovies at World Market.
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Old 01-15-2008, 05:38 PM   #3
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Tinned anchovies do taste quite a bit different than fish sauce, but they still both add umami to what you are cooking.

I'd suggest adding a very small amount of fish sauce and see if you like it. And see if it changes the tenor of whatever you are making. You don't wat spaghetti sauce to taste like Thai food.

But I would also suggest buying a glass jar of high quality anchovies. You can keep them for quite a while in the fridge. IMO anchovies will give you a superior back note that you are looking for.
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:44 PM   #4
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I do this every now and then, and have had excellent results.
Also try tempering the fish sauce with a bit of sugar or honey, perhaps
1 tsp to each Tbsp or less.... it is excellent too!
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:07 PM   #5
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I completely - but respectfully - disagree.

Although Thai Fish Sauce is frequently made from fermented anchovies (&/but sometimes squid), it is not remotely close to anchovies in flavor & can't be subbed for anchovies in Italian dishes. If you were asking if you could sub Thai Fish Sauce for soy sauce in an Asian recipe, I'd say go for it, since it's somewhat similar, albeit lighter & with more flavor, than soy. But subbing Thai Fish Sauce ("nam pla") for anchovies in an Italian recipe? I don't think so.

Keep a few tins of anchovies in your cupboard & use them asap in recipes, as well as on salads, deviled eggs, etc., etc. Leftovers fare very very well in the fridge in a small jar (I save small glass pimiento & caviar jars specifically for this purpose) topped to cover with some olive oil.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
Tinned anchovies do taste quite a bit different than fish sauce, but they still both add umami to what you are cooking.

I'd suggest adding a very small amount of fish sauce and see if you like it. And see if it changes the tenor of whatever you are making. You don't wat spaghetti sauce to taste like Thai food.

But I would also suggest buying a glass jar of high quality anchovies. You can keep them for quite a while in the fridge. IMO anchovies will give you a superior back note that you are looking for.

i agree about anchovies . i don't think fish sauce will give u the same taste, course u could always have on hand for pizza. i love em.

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Old 01-15-2008, 08:30 PM   #7
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Goodness - how did I miss Jennyema's great advice!!

By all means, if you can obtain them, buy the glass jars of anchovy filets. Use a clean utensil to fish out what you need, & top the jar off with olive oil to cover the remaining filets if necessary. They last wonderfully in the fridge.
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:33 PM   #8
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Fish sauce is a fermented product and MUCH stronger then anchovies. I would not substitute.
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:38 PM   #9
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You can get those glass jars at World Market if you have one in the area.
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Old 01-16-2008, 04:34 AM   #10
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Worcestershire sauce contains anchovy, and works well in some recipes. If using fish sauce, I'd go even less than you mentioned, it is very strong. Maybe 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. Also, anchovy is available in a paste form, in a tube. It has a long shelf life if kept in the fridge.
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Old 01-16-2008, 04:40 AM   #11
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No to the fish sauce in my opinion, but yes to Worcestershire sauce (but with a light hand) but a bigger yes to keeping anchovies in the fridge. I originally bought a jar of anchovies, but now just get the ones that are on special at the time, and add them to the jar. When the oil starts to lose it's pleasant aroma, I use the oil on bread with some garlic and grill (broiler in the US??) the bread to make very flavoursome croutons. I then go out and get myself a new jar. Anchovy paste would be the best substitute for the real thing but the quality of the paste will really depend on how well.
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Old 01-16-2008, 06:56 AM   #12
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Thank You

Thanks soooo much everyone. I'll get the small jar. I'm making Green Goddess salad dressing for a small party tonite, and I want it to be right.
What a Great Group!
Eric, Austin TX.
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Old 01-16-2008, 12:44 PM   #13
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Sorry to be the rebel here but Worchestershire has a touch of anchovy and definitely not a substitute for the real thing. You will alter the taste of the finished dish enough so as to ruin it. If you need anchovies for a recipe, especially an Italian recipe, go get anchovies, open the can use what you need and freeze the rest.

Fish sauce is fantastic when making Thai food but the anchovies are highly fermented and this too will ruin a dish calling for anchovies. NEVER, EVER open a bottle of fish sauce and smell it. Wow!! Pretty nasty but oh so good in a recipe. Go for the real thing.

BTW I make a dynamite spaghette sauce. My friends all want to know what makes it so good. I add a couple of anchovies when browning the meat. No way in this world am I gonna share that with my friends.
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Old 01-16-2008, 01:00 PM   #14
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You are so right about the smell of fish sauce DramaQueen! I bought some to use in Tom Kha Gai soup and man oh man did I almost fall over from the stinkyness!
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Old 01-16-2008, 02:40 PM   #15
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Good Lord - thank goodness you checked here first!!! Green Goddess dressing definitely needs REAL anchovies. There's no way you could subsitute Thai Fish Sauce in that. Well, you could, but it definitely wouldn't have been Green Goddess.

Green Goddess dressing is one of my favorites, & I'd never think of bastardizing it with an anchovy substitute - lol!!
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Old 01-16-2008, 04:00 PM   #16
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You can usually pick up tins of anchovy fillets at the 99 Only store for less than a buck apiece. I always grab about 10 cans and stack them up in the pantry.
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Old 01-16-2008, 04:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
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You can usually pick up tins of anchovy fillets at the 99 Only store for less than a buck apiece. I always grab about 10 cans and stack them up in the pantry.
Here's a "heads up" for you. Check the expiration date on the can of anchovies you get at the 99 cent stores. There has been a lot written and warned about food products being pulled from their shelves for being long outdated. Gotta be a reason they're selling a 3 dollar can of anchovies for 99 cents. Just check the date, not saying they're all outdated.
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:51 AM   #18
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Have an Asian market near me they have anchovies in cans, glass, frozen, smoked and dried. Anyone use all the variations? What are the qualities compared to each other?
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:09 AM   #19
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Out of the 3, I prefer the ones in the glass jars. The filets used for the jars always seem to be thicker & have a richer, nuttier less "fishy" flavor than the ones in oil in the tins. In fact, I've found some less expensive tinned brands to be really skimpy, to the point where they come out in one big glob & literally disintegrate when you try to separate them.

Although I know that many authentic Italian cooks swear by the ones packed in salt, the one time I bought them - entirely by accident - lol!! - in an Italian deli in NY, I didn't care for them. Granted, some of it may have been because I just wasn't used to seeing/using the whole fish minus nothing but it's head, but a lot of it was the fact that it didn't at all resemble in appearance or taste, the anchovy-in-oil filets I grew up with. The salted fish tasted just like that - salted fish. And even after thorough rinsing & in some cases soaking, they were still extremely fishy without that traditional anchovy flavor.

I don't think I'd care much for them frozen or dried, but I bet smoked would be interesting, as I have had & liked smoked herring, which is pretty much the same fish.
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:19 AM   #20
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Coming from someone who eats tins of anchovies rolled around capers as snacks and does straight-up fish sauce taste tests becasue I think it tastes delicious right from the bottle ...

I totally agree with Breezy

There is a big difference in quality of anchovies. Good quality anchovies taste better and are less "fishy." Usually quality translates into higher price. Glass jars are another good sign of better quality.

Just say no to cheap anchovies

I'll look in my cupboard and post some brand names later.

The smoked and dried anchovies are used in asian cuisines. My korean friends dip the dry fishies in a hot sauce made with kojujang as a snack.

Never seen frozen ones. But I'll have to look more closely.

White anchovies are pickled and are sublime.
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