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Old 03-01-2013, 12:18 PM   #1
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Vegetarian alternative to fish sauce

Just posted on Facebook by America's Test Kitchen: http://www.americastestkitchenfeed.c...h-sauce-video/
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:14 PM   #2
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Can't pull this up at work, even though it's lunch time. The site is blocked. But If I had to put together a sauce to replace fish sauce, I think I'd play with the following flavors, as they have some of the same flavor componants:
Cooked Asparugus
button mushrooms
enoki mushrooms
cooked brocolli
salt
a little lite soy sauce
a little Nori (seaweed)

Play with the flavors in a pot, adding a little of one, then the other, until I get the flavor I'm looking for. Blend it all together, then strain through cheese cloth

It may not be exactly the same, and will definitely smell better, but it should go well with the same kinds of foods that fish sauce is used with.

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Old 03-01-2013, 02:42 PM   #3
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Their recipe is just 3 cups water, 3 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1/4 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, simmered till reduced by half, then strained. Will last for 3 weeks in the fridge. It doesn't taste like fish sauce by itself but adds umami flavor to stir-fries, etc.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Their recipe is just 3 cups water, 3 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1/4 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, simmered till reduced by half, then strained. Will last for 3 weeks in the fridge. It doesn't taste like fish sauce by itself but adds umami flavor to stir-fries, etc.
I can see that. It's what I was playing with in my head with the ingredients I posted, umami. I have, over the years, developed the ability of breaking down componant flavors in foods, and can taste identify similar flavors if different foods. Fish, for instance, is a combination of various flavors, umami included, which it shares with many other foods. The trick is to identify the foods that have similar flavor characteristics. I don't know how I'm able to do this. I just can. And it doesn't always work on the first attempt, but is a good starting point when trying to create flavor combinations.

If you analyzed the foods you eat, and try to identify the flavor components, you begin to be able to identify the flavors chlorifil flavor in spinach, along with the bitter componant, and slight sour flavor of the oxillic acid. There are other, more subtle flavors as well. But with that knowledge, you can combine remember those flavors, and add them to flavor memories of, say, apple cider vinegar, and salt, and taste in your mind how they will play with, say, fried bacon, to know if the combination of flavors will work. And in fact, they play very well together.

Try picking a few food items that you are very familiar with, and combine the memories of those with each other to see if they work. It's an interesting exercise, and one that with practice, becomes an invaluable tool in your cooking arsenal.

As for the ingredients that I listed for fish sauce, after thinking about it a bit more, I'd omit the broccoli.

Oh, and thanks for the site-provided information. Over the years, there have been a handful (maybe two handfulls) of individuals who have shown themselves to be exceptional members on DC. IMHO, GotGarlic, you are one of them, and the list grows.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:32 PM   #5
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I'd probably play with using tamarind instead of soy and probably some apple cider vinegar to give it a bit of that bite ... and possibly some morels (dried, the powder) and maybe oyster mushroom....and, I'd probably want to find a way to cut the salt or maybe use a smoked salt.
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:16 PM   #6
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I think we should do some experimenting and post the results, so that if we come up with something really good, we can share it with everyone else. Who's all game for this project? I can start after next Tuesday (pay-day).

I can see tamirind in this. Good idea.

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Old 03-01-2013, 05:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
Oh, and thanks for the site-provided information. Over the years, there have been a handful (maybe two handfulls) of individuals who have shown themselves to be exceptional members on DC. IMHO, GotGarlic, you are one of them, and the list grows.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
Thanks, Chief. That means a lot to me.
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Their recipe is just 3 cups water, 3 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1/4 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, simmered till reduced by half, then strained. Will last for 3 weeks in the fridge. It doesn't taste like fish sauce by itself but adds umami flavor to stir-fries, etc.
I have see some similar recipes but they also used kombu (seaweed).
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:19 PM   #9
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i would think some kind of seaweed (laver, nori, kombu, dulse, etc.) would be mandatory for a "fish" sauce, besides salt.

chief, you could have buttery yukon gold potatoes while eating buttery yellowtail sashimi, and wash it down with a buttery chardonnay. all without a bit of butter.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:45 PM   #10
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Wow. I have nothing helpful to add to this topic but I'll sure be watching the posts. Fish sauce is so necessary for many dishes and I simply cannot get it by DH. He smells it when he walks in the kitchen! So come on all you fantastic/creative cooks, give me a substitute with which to fool my husband.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:54 PM   #11
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I'm interested to see what we can come up with. I think the seaweed sounds like a good idea, as well as 'shrooms.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
I think we should do some experimenting and post the results, so that if we come up with something really good, we can share it with everyone else. Who's all game for this project? I can start after next Tuesday (pay-day).

I can see tamirind in this. Good idea.

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I'm in, but not this weekend.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:18 AM   #13
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Make it yourself. Just be sure the fish you use are strictly vegetarian.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:24 AM   #14
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Borage smells and tastes fishy to me.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:19 AM   #15
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Borage smells and tastes fishy to me.
That's interesting. Hmmmmmm....other herbs, folks?
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:24 AM   #16
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The most recent issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine addressed this very issue!
Here is their recipe:
3 cups water
1/4 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
3 TBSP Salt
2 TBSP Soy Sauce.
Combine, simmer over medium heat until reduced by half.
Strain, cool, store in fridge up to 3 weeks.
Use in same quantities as fish sauce is called for in recipe.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:40 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrillingFool View Post
The most recent issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine addressed this very issue!
Here is their recipe:
3 cups water
1/4 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
3 TBSP Salt
2 TBSP Soy Sauce.
Combine, simmer over medium heat until reduced by half.
Strain, cool, store in fridge up to 3 weeks.
Use in same quantities as fish sauce is called for in recipe.
Thank you. Copied and pasted. I use fish sauce, but I like that I can control the amount of salt if I make this.
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrillingFool View Post
The most recent issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine addressed this very issue!
Here is their recipe:
3 cups water
1/4 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
3 TBSP Salt
2 TBSP Soy Sauce.
Combine, simmer over medium heat until reduced by half.
Strain, cool, store in fridge up to 3 weeks.
Use in same quantities as fish sauce is called for in recipe.
That's the same recipe America's Test Kitchen, which produces the magazine, posted it on their Facebook page.
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:14 AM   #19
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Fish sauce in south East Asian cookin is essentially salt and stink factor. Two very important things in SEA seasoning, a replacement would probably mean lookin at vego salts like soy and stinky things like black or yellow fermented beans, won't be the same (fish sauce and shrimp paste being two of my favourite things) but will do the job. :)
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:05 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by TooTall View Post
Fish sauce in south East Asian cookin is essentially salt and stink factor. Two very important things in SEA seasoning, a replacement would probably mean lookin at vego salts like soy and stinky things like black or yellow fermented beans, won't be the same (fish sauce and shrimp paste being two of my favourite things) but will do the job. :)
Well. If I ever considered eating fish sauce, I definitely don't anymore. Stink factor? Ewwww lol
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