Vegan Fish Sauce in a glass bottle.

Vegan Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a staple in Southeast and East Asian cooking, but finding a substitute can be challenging for vegetarians and vegans. This plant-based, Vegan Fish Sauce is made with dried shiitake mushrooms, liquid aminos, and soy sauce and adds umami to your favorite dishes!

Vegan Fish Sauce in a glass bottle.
Vegan Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a staple in Southeast and East Asian cooking, but finding a substitute can be challenging for vegetarians and vegans. This plant-based, Vegan Fish Sauce is made with dried shiitake mushrooms, liquid aminos, and soy sauce and adds umami to your favorite dishes!

Vegan Fish Sauce made with dried shiitake mushrooms in a glass bottle.

I quickly learned that one of the challenges of cooking many Southeast and East Asian dishes and transforming it into a vegetarian dish wasn’t the question of what to do with the meat or seafood, but rather how to season it without a very critical ingredient: fish sauce.

Used in place of salt, fish sauce is not only important for making a dish salty, but giving it that certain umami that can’t be achieved with kosher salt alone. I quickly learned this when making vegetarian pad Thai and vegetarian pancit. Traditional fish sauce is made by fermenting anchovies and salt for 1 year or up to 18 months, and when the precious liquid is pressed, it adds a very concentrated depth of flavor to dishes. Between you and me, when cooking a vegetarian dish for myself, I would let a teaspoon of fish sauce slide in the dish, but I knew I had to try a substitute since the challenge of making a dish truly vegetarian isn’t complete without one.

How to make vegan fish sauce with dried shiitake mushrooms.

I did some quick investigation of what products are out there and found that the answer is, well, not much. But I did find that there are other ways to create a vegan fish sauce at home. Methods and ingredients vary, and of course, some are more complicated than others – some use dried mushrooms, others soy sauce, and some had longer ingredient lists than others. I wanted something simple, because cooking is hard enough, and cooking a delicious vegetarian dish should not be any harder.

Making vegan fish sauce in a pot with shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce and liquid aminos.

This vegan fish sauce can’t get any simpler. Dried shiitake mushrooms, water, soy sauce, and liquid aminos – four ingredients that simmer and reduce to resemble the salty, flavorful depth of flavor found in fish sauce. I found it worked quite well in those noodle dishes – to be honest, I was surprised how well, actually! My discerning tongue was satisfied, and my family didn’t notice a difference, which means I’ll be keeping this on hand from now on!

Vegan Fish Sauce in a bottle.

Vegan Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a staple in Southeast and East Asian cooking, but finding a substitute can be challenging for vegetarians and vegans — this plant-based, Vegan Fish Sauce is made with dried shiitake mushrooms, liquid aminos, and soy sauce and adds umami to your favorite dishes!
Course Condiments
Cuisine Asian
Keyword fish sauce, patis, sauce, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 72 Servings
Calories 1kcal
Author Liren Baker

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the mushrooms, water, soy sauce and liquid aminos in saucepan and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, then continue to cook until the liquid has reduced in volume by half.
  • Allow the sauce to cool, then transfer to a glass jar, cover and use just as you would fish sauce. Keep stored in the refrigerator. 

Notes

Keep Vegan Fish Sauce stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Adapted lightly from Vegetarian Substitute for Fish Sauce, Cooks Illustrated.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 1kcal | Sodium: 69mg | Potassium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1%
Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see! Tag @kitchconfidante on Instagram and hashtag it #kitchenconfidante

Comments

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    • Liren Baker

      I find it hard to buy ready-made vegan fish sauce, so that is why I am sharing this recipe – I hope you try it! It’s super easy!

    • Liren Baker

      Since it’s hard to find vegan fish sauce in stores, I hope you try this simple recipe!

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