Thursday, July 23, 2015

Vegan fish sauce

July 18, 2015

Fish sauce probably doesn't rank up there with bacon and salami as an animal product that veg*ns desperately miss the flavour of. Nevertheless, it does pop up in recipes that otherwise look delicious and veg-friendly. I came across one such recipe this week and rapidly turned up a vegan fish sauce substitute to try it out with.

The sauce recipe uses wakame (I substituted dulse flakes) and mushroom 'oyster' sauce for a taste of the sea, plus garlic and miso for extra umami. Everything's boiled down to a barely-palatable concentrate. I'm not confident that it resembles fish sauce, precisely, but it certainly has pungency in common with its namesake!

Vegan fish sauce
(adapted slightly from a recipe on The Kitchn)

1 tablespoon dulse flakes
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons peppercorns
3 cups water
1/2 cup mushroom 'oyster' sauce
2 teaspoons miso

Place the dulse flakes, garlic, peppercorns and water in a saucepan and bring them to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer them for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid, discarding the solids and returning the liquid to the saucepan. Add the 'oyster' sauce and boil it down until it's reduced by half, about 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the miso. Store the sauce in the fridge.


  1. Maybe I should use my dulse flakes in this. I never tasted fish sauce before I went vegetarian so am never quite sure how it tastes and if I am missing anything but it does pop up in recipes from time to time. I love unmami but am never quite sure if I want the taste of the sea - perhaps this is why I don't use my dulse flakes often

    1. Hi Johanna - we don't get much use out of our dulse flakes either! I was glad to find this use for them.