I was trapped in a broccoli forest the other day — bear with me here—when it dawned on me how complex the whole “going green” thing can be. I mean, kudos to those plant-lovin’ vegans out there; making the universe a healthier place and all that jazz. But like with any good superhero story, there’s always a flip side. The diet can be super unrealistic for some of us, especially those juggling chronic illnesses. So, let’s dial down the self-righteousness, can we?
I have to admit, the carbon footprint that comes from shipping heaps of watermelon to wintry New York is extra AF. And don’t even get me started on the veggie-geddon that can happen when large-scale vegetable farming gets a little out of control. Sometimes I just wanna scream, “Chill, sweet carrots, not everyone can get their cabbage feast all year long!”
Aaaand speaking of uncharted territory, I’ve brewed up this finger-lickin’ vegan fish sauce that, legit, will have you reaching for seconds. Don’t worry, this bad boy swaps fishy fish for a plant-based twist that won’t have Nemo swimming in circles. So, even if we can’t all be full-time members of the Young Avengers or the International Left-Hander Society (yes, that exists), let’s at least get saucy together while exploring the greener side of culinary delights!
- Shiitake mushrooms – Rich, smoky flavor that gives depth of umami flavor. Great source of Vitamin D.
- Tamari – A type of soy sauce, adds a subtle saltiness to the sauce.
- Wakame seaweed – Unique briny flavor, loaded with minerals and antioxidants.
- Chickpea miso – Fermented soybean paste that gives the sauce its fishy flavor.
- Garlic – Adds a nice kick of flavor and has health benefits.
- Water – To make the sauce, good-quality water is recommended for the best flavor.
- First thing’s first, chop up the mushrooms.
- Grab your saucepan and toss in the water, sliced mushrooms, seaweed, garlic cloves, tamari, and miso.
- Bring everything to a boil and then let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
- Let the sauce cool down to room temperature before straining it into a jar or other airtight container. Optional: If you want an extra boost of flavor, let the sauce sit overnight before straining.
Serving Suggestions for Vegan Fish Sauce
- Drizzle it over your favorite stir-fry for a tangy twist.
- Use it as a marinade for tofu or tempeh before grilling or roasting.
- Mix it with some olive oil and use it as a dressing for salads or grain bowls.
- Add a spoonful to soups or stews for extra depth of flavor.
- Use it as a dipping sauce for dumplings, spring rolls or veggie skewers.
- As a fun fact, did you know that in some Asian cultures, fish sauce is even used as a condiment for pizza? Try it for yourself and see how it elevates your next pizza night.
- And for a truly authentic experience, use it in place of traditional fish sauce in classic dishes like pho or pad thai. Your taste buds won’t know the difference!
How long does it take to make Vegan Fish Sauce?
It takes 20 minutes of cook time and 25 minutes of total time.
What are the alternatives to shiitake mushroom?
If you can’t find shiitake mushroom you can use dried shiitake for a deeper flavor or you can experiment with other mushroom, like oyster or cremini mushroom.
Can this recipe be made soy-free?
Yes, you can use coconut aminos instead of tamari to make it soy-free.
Can I use chickpea miso instead of soy miso?
Yes, you can use chickpea miso if you prefer, it’s a healthier alternative.
Can I let the ingredients steep overnight to extract extra flavor?
If you have time, you can let the ingredients steep overnight or for up to 24 hours before straining to extract extra flavor, but it’s not necessary.
Vegan Fish Sauce
- 1 Knife and Cutting Board
- 1 saucepan
- 1 Strainer
- 1 Fork
- 1 Jar
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup tamari sauce
- 1 1/2 cups wakame seaweed, chopped
- 2 teaspoons chickpea miso
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or 1 tablespoon of chopped herbs such as cilantro or parsley
- Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil.
- Add the sliced mushrooms, minced garlic, and chopped wakame seaweed to the saucepan and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are slightly browned.
- Pour in the water, tamari sauce, and chickpea miso and stir until the miso has dissolved.
- Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
- Strain the sauce through a strainer into a mason jar or other airtight container.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a tablespoon of chopped herbs for extra flavor.
You can use dried shiitake instead of fresh for a deeper flavor.
You can use soy miso instead of chickpea miso if you prefer.
For a soy-free fish sauce, replace the tamari with coconut aminos.