Fish sauce is a popular condiment in many Southeast Asian cuisines, especially in Thai, Vietnamese, and Filipino cooking.

Fish Sauce

Recipe by caion


Prep time


Cooking timeminutes

It’s typically made by fermenting fish, salt, and sometimes water, and it adds a unique savory and umami flavor to dishes. Here’s a basic recipe for homemade fish sauce:


  • Fresh fish (anchovies, mackerel, or similar fish) – about 2 pounds

  • Coarse sea salt – 1 cup

  • Water – 4 cups (for the brine)

  • A clean, non-reactive container (glass or food-grade plastic)

  • A clean, non-reactive lid or cover

  • Cheesecloth or a clean, breathable cloth

  • A weight (a clean, heavy object like a clean stone or glass jar filled with water)


  • Clean the fish: Remove the heads, tails, and innards from the fish. Rinse them thoroughly under cold water to remove any impurities. Allow the fish to drain well.
  • Prepare the brine: In a large bowl, dissolve the coarse sea salt in the water to create a brine solution. Stir until the salt is completely dissolved.
  • Layer the fish and salt in the container: Place a layer of fish in the clean container, covering the bottom. Sprinkle a small amount of salt over the fish. Repeat this process until all the fish and salt are layered in the container.
  • Add brine: Pour the brine solution into the container until it covers the fish completely. Ensure that there is at least an inch of brine above the fish.
  • Weight and cover: Place a weight on top of the fish to keep them submerged in the brine. This prevents the fish from coming into contact with oxygen and spoiling the fermentation. Cover the container with a lid, and then cover it with a breathable cloth, like cheesecloth, secured with a rubber band or string. This allows air to circulate while keeping out dust and insects.
  • Fermentation: Place the container in a cool, dark place and allow it to ferment for several months. The fermentation time can vary, but a minimum of 3-6 months is recommended for a basic fish sauce. The longer you ferment it, the more intense the flavor.
  • Check and taste: Occasionally, check the fish sauce and taste it. When it reaches the desired level of umami and saltiness, it’s ready. The liquid should be dark and have a strong, savory aroma.
  • Strain and store: Strain the fish sauce to remove any solids, then transfer it to clean, airtight bottles or jars. Store it in the refrigerator to maintain its quality and prevent further fermentation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *