Asian Fish SauceNam pla (Thai), Nuoc Nam (Vietnam), Nam pa, (Lao), Shottsur, (Japan) or Garum in ancient Rome. No matter what you call it fish sauce is the backbone of Asian cooking. The pale colored fish sauce is used as a condiment, in sauces or as a seasoning.
Article by: Barbara Bowman
How It's Made
This sauce is typically made from anchovies which are heavily salted and fermented in barrels. A liquid is formed as the fish ferment. The liquid is drained from the barrels and poured back over the fish and continues to ferment for a total of about 6 months.
The products coming out of Thailand are typically quite good. Good brands include Tiparos and Squid. Imported brands are normally of better quality and less expensive than U.S. brands.
Store: The fish sauce stores indefinitely and does not require refrigeration after opening. Refrigeration may cause salt crystals to form.
Salt equivalent: One tablespoon fish sauce is equal to 1 teaspoon salt
Fish sauce is available at most Asian markets. Due to the popularity of diverse foods you may even find it in your local gourmet grocery store. You can also purchase from a variety of online stores including ImportFoods.com
Asian Fish Sauce Substitute
If you don't have fish sauce and need a substitute try this simple recipe. (See vegetarian version too)
1 part soy sauce
4 parts anchovies
Place in a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve pressing solids to extract flavor.