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Vegan Fish Sauce

Often certain Asian dishes (especially Thai) call for fish or oyster sauce. Unfortunately for vegetarians, there is really no substitute. Made from fermented fish, fish sauce is incredibly pungent and flavorful. Even though it is impossible to replicate it without the fish, it’s possible to come pretty close.

This recipe is for a vegan fish sauce that will compliment any dish.

1 1/2 cups shredded wakame seaweed (available at most healthy supermarkets)
6 cups water
6 fat cloves garlic, crushed but not peeled
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 cup soy sauce (tamarin for gluten free)
1 tbsp miso or miso paste
6 – 8 dried shiitake mushrooms

In a large sauce pan add water, wakame, garlic, mushrooms, and peppercorns then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain liquid and return back to pot. Add soy sauce and bring back to a boil about 5 – 10 minutes. Mixture should be reduced and very salty. Remove from heat and stir in miso. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

As a side note, there is one way that you can add a fishier flavor to this sauce. Substituting lion’s mane mushrooms for the shiitake mushrooms will give it a distinctly fishy flavor. Unfortunately they are much harder to come by unless ordering them online. Lion’s mane mushroom has been used in China for many years both as a culinary ingredient and a medicine for things like memory, immune system improvement, and cancer prevention.

-By Cameron Smith, Lettuce’s Culinary Operations Manager

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