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Recipes, Sauce

Authentic Fish Sauce Recipe: The 8-Step Process To Make

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Fish sauce is an indispensable cooking condiment for every family. Do you know how to use fish sauce for each type of dish properly? Let’s learn the process by that Vietnamese people often makes fish sauce with Tasty Touch!

What is fish sauce?

Fish sauce (nuoc mam) is a typical condiment in Vietnamese food processing. In addition to stimulating appetite and digestion, the fish sauce also contains many nutrients such as protein and vitamins A, D, and B12. Therefore, when processing, do not cook the fish sauce for a long time on the stove.

fish sauce nuoc cham
Fish Sauce

With the soup, sauced fish is added to the soup last, and then immediately removed. Do not add fish sauce and let it boil for a long time on the stove, it will lose its taste because the taste of the fish sauce is changed. With braised meat, the meat should be stored almost soft with other spices and then added fish sauce, stored for a short time, the meat is not hard and more delicious.

Some types of sweet and sour fish sauce (nuoc cham) are often used with fried dishes, and eaten with raw vegetables such as spring rolls, shrimp cakes, Banh Chung, fried fish, and fried shrimp powder. The sour taste in this fish sauce reduces the feeling of being sick of the oil and fat in the dish.

Some foods such as eel dishes, deep-fried goby, grilled fish, and potatoes are often used with tamarind fish sauce. Fried catfish dish uses fish sauce with added ginger, which has a good effect on digestion. Boiled meat, fish in sour soup, or cooked porridge is used with raw fish sauce (pure fish sauce, not mixed) with chili or pepper.

The effect of nuoc mam sauce

Eliminate odors

Fish sauce is not just a condiment to marinate, taste, or make a dipping sauce. This is also an extremely effective deodorant assistant.

Try using fish sauce to clean and deodorize young intestines, old intestines, and pig stomachs… You just need to mix a little fish sauce with warm water, this mixture not only helps to remove oily substances but also deodorizes odors. It also helps to preserve the natural taste of the food.

Wake up taste

There is a secret that the bartenders pass on to each other: a little pure fish sauce will make the coffee more fragrant and richer.

Many chefs of the famous Pizza restaurant in Italy always sprinkle a little fish sauce on the cake before baking, making cheese, ham, ketchup, mushrooms, seafood… say taste”, making the Pizza become fragrant, delicious…

According to an article published in the Huffington Post, “When standing alone, the taste of fish sauce can be a bit strong, but when used for seasoning, marinating, sauces, mixing, making sauces, this spice makes everything it touches. come in and become tastier.” That’s why, when you boil meat, if you add a few drops of high-protein fish sauce, it will make the meat sweeter and more fragrant.

Make food more delicious

Fish sauce, according to the article “The magic of fish sauce” by author Andrea Nguyen published in the Wall Street Journal, will make the dish richer and more flavorful.

“Excellent fish sauce never has a fishy or foul taste. Ear fish sauce, or fish sauce – the first line of fish sauce after the brewing process – always gives the best taste.” “This deep amber water extracted from anchovies and sea salt can be cooked with anything if it needs a strong taste.”

Authentic recipe: the 8-Step process to make fish sauce

Recipe by Anne TranCourse: Recipes, Sauce


Prep time


Cooking time





Below is the simple but tasty Vietnamese fish sauce recipe. Let’s begin:


  • 4kg of fresh anchovies

  • 1kg white salt

  • Glass jar or crock pot


  • Step 1: Choose fish
    In order to create finished products with a standard taste, the selection of raw materials is a very important step. Traditional fish sauce is often made of anchovies because this is considered the best fish sauce brewed.
    The time to purchase anchovies usually falls from November to April of the next lunar year, this is the anchovy season, so when catching it, it will be less likely to be mixed with other fish, but depending on the location of each region, Anchovy season may come 1 to 2 months earlier or later.
    To make a good fish sauce, you don’t have to use any type of anchovy, according to his father’s old experience, anchovies – anchovies that often appear in the February to March of the lunar calendar, are the Premium anchovy considered the raw material for a fish sauce with a particularly delicious taste. Therefore, many people often choose the time when anchovies appear a lot to buy raw materials.
    After collecting fish, at the fish sauce factory, there will be a fisherman to filter the catch again to remove the bad fish and trash fish to collect the best catches. Selected fish must be fresh fish, with lear fish eyes, and an elastic body.nuoc mam
  • Step 2: Prepare and clean the fish
    When you buy anchovies, you put them in salt water to soak for 30 minutes, then wash them and then take them out to drain. You can put anchovies in the basket and stir them under the tap with your hands to help clean the dirt in the intestines.
    nuoc mam
  • Step 3: Choose salt
    The time to buy salt is usually in the early autumn because this is the time when the sun is not too hot but still ensures that the salt is dry and dry. Salt used for brewing must choose large, even seeds, with an opaque white in the middle, and slightly clear edges, when tasting the salt must have a salty taste, not too acrid.
    After buying salt, it should be stored for about 12 months so that the salt can remove all its acrid and bitter taste. Thus, when the fish sauce is finished, there will be no bitter taste of the salt that has just been harvested.
    fish sauce
  • Step 4: Mix fish and salt
    After preparing the ingredients, the next step is to mix the fish and salt. The standard ratio for mixing sea fish of the traditional fish sauce production village is 3:1, for every 3 tons of fish, it will be mixed with 1 ton of salt in a wooden barrel and incubated.
    To ensure the taste of the fish sauce, the mixing of fish and salt is usually done right after the fish is purchased, so it will keep the freshness of the fish, and the fish sauce will have a standard aroma. Besides, the mixing of fish and salt must also be done in a clean, hygienic place.
    fish sauce
  • Step 5: Brewing and pressing
    To extract the purest and best quality fish sauce, in addition to mixing fish and salt with a ratio of 3:1, the incubation period is equally important.
    The incubation time will range from 6 to 24 months depending on the production method and finished product requirements. The longer the incubation time, the higher the quality of the fish sauce, fish sauces that are brewed for a period of 18 to 24 months, will produce more beautiful colors and more delicious flavors.
    nuoc mam
  • Step 6: Maturing – Sun Drying – Stirring
    Maturing – Sun Drying – Stirring are the 3 main methods in the brewing process. Fish sauce will ripen faster and give a more beautiful color when exposed to natural sunlight. The best time to dry is in the morning, before 10 o’clock, because at this time, the gentle sun will not ripen the fish too quickly, leading to low quality.
    Chop the island using a stick or tool to stir which has the effect of shortening the ripening time of the fish sauce and getting the finished product sooner. Depending on the production requirements of each establishment, the artisan making fish sauce will either turn over or not.
    During the drying process, the fisherman must pull out the fish sauce to check and pump the iron to ensure the maximum absorption of nutrients in the fish. The time and process of pulling out each place of fish sauce production have different regulations. With a short incubation period, the withdrawal period can be carried out every 1 to 2 months, while for a longer period, it can range from 3 to 4 months.
    nuoc mam
  • Step 7: Filter fish sauce
    After the incubation period, when the fish sauce is ripe and fragrant, the manufacturer will proceed to withdraw the eardrum through the faucet at the bottom. The fish sauce will be withdrawn at about 50 to 70%. The remaining fish sauce will continue to brew with dissolved salt water to produce grade 1 fish sauce.
    After being collected, the fish sauce will be put into the filter tank to filter out impurities, reduce the amount of crude protein and filter the fish paste (if any).
  • Step 8: Finished fish sauce
    Traditional fish sauce will often have a beautiful red-yellow color, fragrant, but not strong. It has a mild salty taste and a natural aftertaste. After a while, the fish sauce will have a darker color, because the fish sauce contains protein from real fish.
    nuoc mam
  • Step 9: Preservation and use
    You should store the fish sauce in a glass jar or bag, a sealed box after each filling to prevent bacteria from outside entering.
    Each time you take fish sauce to eat, you should use clean tools such as patches or shifts without mixing other ingredients while cooking.
    Once the fish sauce has been poured out, it is absolutely forbidden to put it back in, you should put it in a separate jar or plastic bag to preserve it for the next use.
    After a long time, precipitation may occur, if the taste and aroma of fish sauce do not change, you just need to use a clean cloth to filter it and you can continue to use it!nuoc cham

Recipe Video

How to use fish sauce?

Boiled dishes

The delicious pure fish sauce is used to dip boiled meat and steamed fish. To feel all the sweetness of boiled meat and steamed fish, you should use pure, undiluted fish sauce. Just add a little sliced ​​chili or pepper, or lemon and you can eat right away.


If you want to add fish sauce to the soup, just add it last. When the soup is cooked and turn off the stove, add a few drops of fish sauce to make the dish more delicious and absorb all the nutrients in the fish sauce.

Braised dishes from meat and fish

With ingredients such as meat and fish, before cooking, you should marinate with spices such as sugar, salt, seasoning, monosodium glutamate, onion, chili, etc. And when almost cooked, add a little water. Add fish sauce and then turn off the stove, so that the dish is more flavorful without losing the nutrition in the fish sauce.

Fried dishes, salads…

For fried dishes, salads, vermicelli, etc., you need to process the fish sauce into a sweet and sour sauce, so that you don’t get bored when eating. To have a delicious sweet and sour sauce, in addition to fish sauce, you need to use more lemon, minced garlic, minced chili, sugar, monosodium glutamate, and vinegar and dissolve them together.

Notes on using fish sauce

  • Do not boil the fish sauce for too long, it will destroy nutrients as well as change the taste of the fish sauce.
  • Do not use fish sauce to marinate raw meat because this spice will make the meat hard and lose its natural sweetness.
  • Do not use fish sauce when processing dishes from shrimp, braised shrimp, etc. to avoid losing the delicious and sweet taste of these ingredients.

Above are the shares of Tasty Touch about the secret to making delicious and nutritious fish sauce. Good luck to you!

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