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Author Notes: When I dine at Vietnamese and Thai restaurants and request that they leave out the fish sauce, ubiquitous in South Asian cuisine, the dishes sometimes taste as if they are lacking something. That “something” is fish sauce, South Asia’s “secret ingredient” that adds oomph to dishes, injecting that special flavor that you can’t quite put your finger on.
Here is my vegan version that can be universally added to Asian-style dishes, lending them that extra “something.” And the secret ingredients in my fish sauce? Wakame, a seaweed, and the liquid from those jars of fermented tofu, a somewhat stinky Chinese condiment made by pre-serving tofu in wine, vinegar, and other ingredients for months (don’t be put off by the description!). Give it a try and then use it in everything from green papaya salad to Thai-style curries.
Reprinted from The Homemade Vegan Pantry, Copyright (c) 2015 by Miyoko Schinner. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. —miyokoschinner
Makes 1 cup
For the fish sauce:
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons organic sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- 1 tablespoon distilled vinegar
- 2 tablespoons liquid from a jar of fermented tofu
- 1 teaspoon wakame powder (recipe below)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Combine all of the ingredients in a jar and mix or shake well. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Shake well each time before using to redistribute the wakame.
For the wakame powder:
- 1 cup dried wakame
- Put the wakame in a blender and cover tightly. Process until it is completely pulverized. Wait a second for the wakame dust to settle before removing the lid, or you’ll lose some of it as it disperses into the air. Store in a covered jar at room temperature.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!