Fish Sauce

I learned a while ago that fish sauce is a great source of umami. You know umami, that great taste in lots of things like meat, mushrooms and broth, to name a few. Fish sauce is made from fish covered in salt and fermented for a long time, like years. I saw it in recipes from East Asia.

I thought I should try this and I added it to a number of things like fish and salad dressing and stir fry. Well, turns out, that if I added fish sauce to anything, Marlo loved it. This surprised me because you take a smell of the bottle and it smells like feet or worse! I think the trick is that you don’t add much, usually a teaspoon or two. Another trick is to use the brand Christopher Kimball of Milk Street recommends: Red Boat Fish Sauce. I find it online.

Lately, I have been adding it to oven roasted fish and we think it is delicious. When I get home from work, I turn the oven on convection roast at 450 degrees. I guess the convection part is just a little fan in the back so it probably doesn’t make that much difference, but anyway.


Then I wrap a thawed fish fillet in paper towel to get rid of excess moisture so it will brown, rather that steam. I place the dried fillets on an oiled pan and here’s where the flavoring come in. I add these things: fish sauce, tasted sesame oil, and something sweet like pepper jelly or onion jelly, but lately I have been using honey drizzled over each fillet. I place the pan with the fillets in the oven on a middle rack and set the timer for 10 minutes. At 10 minutes I check the fish and it usually needs another 5 minutes. When in doubt, check the temperature, for fish it should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Here’s the recipe. Give it a try!

The fish sauce is also great in salad dressings, stir fry and fried rice. It is amazing how a little fish sauce adds flavor, but I can’t tell it’s fish. I get my fish sauce at the regular grocery store but they have so many kinds at the Asian Market that I should try some of those. My sister, Connie, my editor, uses anchovy salt to add flavor. That could be an entirely different adventure!


Thanks for reading this. It’s always good to hear from you.