Sunday, 5 April 2009


FISH SAUCE is a condiment that is derived from fish that have been allowed to ferment. It is an essential ingredient in many South-East Asian curries and sauces, especially in Vietnamese, Thai, Lao, Cambodian, and Filipino cuisine. In addition to being added to dishes during the cooking process, it is also used as a dipping sauce.

There are different methods and ingredients used in making FISH SAUCE – it could be made from raw fish, dried fish, from only a single species or from a combination of fish. Some makers also add shellfish. Usually FISH SAUCE contains only fish and salt, but there are varieties where herbs and spices have been added.

Southeast Asian FISH SAUCE is often made from anchovies, salt and water, and is often used in moderation because of its intense flavour. Anchovies and salt are arranged in wooden boxes to ferment and are slowly pressed, yielding the salty, fishy liquid. The variety from Vietnam is generally called nước mắm and from Thailand, nam pla.

Southeast Asians generally use FISH SAUCE as a cooking sauce. However, there is a sweet and sour version of this sauce in Vietnamese cuisine which is used more commonly as a dipping sauce. It is called nước chấm. In Thailand, FISH SAUCE is used in cooking and is also kept in a jar at the table for use as a condiment. This jar often contains a mixture of FISH SAUCE and chopped hot chilies, called nam pla prik.

FISH SAUCE was also used in Classical Roman cooking, where in Latin it is known as garum or liquamen. The original English Worcestershire sauce is a related product because it is fermented and contains anchovies too.

No comments: