I've always using some basic oriental style ingredients in making marinades(soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, hoisin). I picked up my first bottle of fish sauce last week and I just keep staring at it, afraid to use it. I hear it can be pretty harsh stuff if not used properly. What are some basic ways for me to start incorporating it into dishes?

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pierino
pierino September 11, 2010

A Vietnamese dipping sauce for spring rolls or imperial rolls would be a good start. Tasted by itself it is pretty nasty (smells like fish based fertilizer) but in combination with other ingredients its profile changes completely. The magic of the anchovy! What you end up with is something that tastes complex and delicious.

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Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser September 11, 2010

It's often used as a seasoning, so rather than adding just salt to a soup, dipping sauce or marinade, you can add fish sauce to taste. I agree with Pierino -- alone or in excess, it's not pleasant. The photo below (from CookThink.com) is the brand I use, and like.

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monkeymom
monkeymom September 11, 2010

I just read through the Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper. The author recommends using just a touch of it in salad dressings to add umami. I looked on their web site and they have several recipes using fish sauce, including this one from Momofuku: (http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/recipes/side_fried_cauliflower.shtml)
I also really like fish sauce added to meat marinades...just add a tsp at a time.

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pierino
pierino September 12, 2010

Someone recently asked which brand of fish sauce to buy and the one in Amanda's picture is the one I also purchase, "Three Crabs"---check out the lable.

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Carrollmontreal
Carrollmontreal September 12, 2010

I use fish sauce in many Thai soup recipes. Along with lemongrass, it adds a distinctive flavor.

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