5-Ingredient Vegan Fish Sauce

5-Ingredient Vegan Fish Sauce-side view-long image- with shiitake mushroom and seaweedDo the words vegan and fish seem like an odd fit?  Well, if you know where the distinct savory taste comes from in a regular fish sauce, everything will begin to make sense.  

The mystery all lies in this magic compound called glutamate that is found in fish sauce.   I remembered many years ago reading about how Japanese Chemist, Kikunae Ikeda, found the glutamate in the broth of kombu seaweed.  Using this seaweed as the base for this vegan version fish sauce gives strong hints of the sea.  Now vegan fish sauce is absolutely possible.

5-Ingredient Vegan Fish Sauce-top view with seaweed and shiitake mushrooms

Besides kombu seaweed, I also boiled some shiitake mushrooms together to make the broth.  The combination of these two main ingredients gives the vegan fish sauce an earthy and ocean-smell-like savory flavor.  In order to intensify the flavor, I let the broth simmered for about 1 hour, blend the seaweed and mushrooms together, and then filter to collect the liquid.  

5-Ingredient Vegan Fish Sauce-side view with shiitake mushroom and seaweed

Fish sauces are widely used in Southeastern Asian cuisine.  You can read here to find the difference between Thai and Vietnamese fish sauce.    If you are a big fan of Thai and Vietnamese food, this vegan fish sauce is something you will want to and can easily make at home for your vegan diet.   

5-Ingredient Vegan Fish Sauce-top-side view with shiitake mushroom and seaweed

Although this homemade vegan fish sauce doesn’t taste exactly like the regular fish sauce, it’s absolutely an awesome sauce you can use in more than just Thai and Vietnamese recipes.  Add a few spoonful in sauted vegetables, vegetable salads, or soup, and people are going to wonder where the mystery flavor is coming from.

5-Ingredient Vegan Fish Sauce-with spoon

5 from 1 vote
5-Ingredient Vegan Fish Sauce
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
Tools A kitchen scale, saucepan with lid, measuring cups and spoons, blender
Course: Sauce (Gluten-Free)
Cuisine: Asian
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Joyce @ Light Orange Bean
  • 20 grams dried kombu seaweed
  • 50 grams approximately 5 medium size dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Himalayan black salt
  1. In a large bowl, soak dried kombu seaweed in warm water for 10 minutes to allow it to swell. Wash and rinse off the sand. Briefly cut the kombu seaweed into small pieces.
  2. Add seaweed and the remaining ingredients into a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to let the broth simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Let the broth cool slightly. Transfer the broth with the seaweed and shiitake mushrooms into a high-speed blender. Blend briefly. Filter the mixture with a fine-mesh strainer and collect the liquid.


5-Ingredient Vegan Fish Sauce

One comment

  1. Maria says:

    I can’t wait to try it! So simple and perfect! I love asian food and I’m always looking for new recipes, always vegan, of course ? Thank you for this!

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