Vegan Fish Sauce Recipe

by on March 18, 2013

So why make vegan fish sauce? Well if you like to make your own vegan Thai or Vietnamese food, fish sauce is a very common ingredient and gives these cuisines a nice flavour. I used this vegan fish sauce recipe for using in Nuoc Cham (the sauce used for Bun Chay aka vermercelli salad bowls) and you can also use it to season fresh Thai papaya salad. (It’s made with green unripe papaya and is more like a raw squash)

I found this recipe online for vegan fish sauce and ordered some mushroom flavored soy sauce from Amazon because I wasn’t sure if I could find some at the store. If you have access to an Asian specialty store they will probably have it too.  As I hadn’t tried mushroom soy sauce before I didn’t know if it was much different than regular dark soy sauce. It actually doesn’t taste much different to me (aside from being super super salty compared to the low sodium soy sauce I normally use).  You can use regular dark soy sauce instead if that’s all you can find, as it will probably come out pretty similar. Make sure it’s dark soy sauce and not light or low sodium soy sauce for this recipe.

For my purposes I reduced the original recipe by 1/3 as I only had a small empty tamari bottle to store the sauce in. So feel free to make as much as you care for but this recipe below makes about 1 cup. I used this in my Nuoc Cham sauce for my Bun Chay recipe.

Vegan Fish Sauce Recipe

Makes 1 cup


1/2 cups shredded wakame (find it at the Asian or health food store by the Nori)
2 cups filtered water
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1/3 cup mushroom flavored dark soy sauce, regular soy sauce or GF tamari
1 tsp of genmai miso (it’s already pretty salty so this is optional)


1. Combine wakame, garlic, peppercorns and water in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Strain and return the liquid back to the pot. Add soy sauce, bring back to a boil and cook until mixture is reduced and almost unbearable salty. Remove from heat and stir in miso.

2. Decant into a bottle and keep in the refrigerator. Use one-for-one to replace fish sauce in vegan recipes.

Additional Info: 

Wakame is the seaweed used often in seaweed salad in Japanese restaurants. It’s shredded into little strips. So if you’ve ever tried seaweed salad you’ll be familiar with it.

Have you ever had fish sauce before? 

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carrie September 19, 2014 at 6:53 AM

This is a great recipe! Can’t wait to try it. I wonder how long can the vegan fish sauce last in the fridge? Thanks 🙂


2 Shahla April 14, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Aloha Veronica, just attempted to make this fish sauce but wasn’t sure if I did it right. I added 1/2 cup of dry wakame, not sure if I was suppose to use it dry or reconstitute it. It seemed to fill the pan up and use up all the water I had in the pan. In the end it only made 1/2 a cup of sauce not the whole 1 cup. Thank You, it did taste fine tho, cant wait to put it on top of my Bun Chay tonight =)


3 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 14, 2013 at 9:09 PM

The wakame DOES expand yes. I strained it to get some liquid out, also if you cook it at high heat it can let a lot of water dissipate. You can add more water to it if you want to make the sauce less intense.


4 Wanda April 8, 2013 at 10:21 AM

I will definitely have to try this. Have you ever tried this with tofu, or do you think it’s too strong? I’d like to try it with my seitan, to make veggie fish.


5 Lisa April 2, 2013 at 1:11 PM

WOWand YAY!!! I make some papaya salad and other asian dishes that require fish sauce. Now I just leave them out but they are missing something!! I can’t wait to try this recipe. I can just tell by the ingredients that it will put some of the familiar flavor back in. Thanks !!


6 Deborah March 26, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Wow it seems the recepies I’ve been thinking about keep dropping in my lap as to confirm my new path.

Actualy I made a curry the other day and actually thought about the whole fish sauce thing. I love my curries and yes need the vegan fish sauce.

Wondering if it would be okay to translate into Danish and post at my place later, when I get the wakame? Anyway have a lovely Easter.


7 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica March 26, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Just put a link back to my site, sure.


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