Fish sauce is the most traditional dipping sauce and condiments of Vietnamese people. Most Vietnamese dishes have fish sauce, bringing a rich flavor and creating a unique identity of Vietnamese cuisine.

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Not only enhancing the flavor for foods, but fish sauce also contains protein and minerals that are essential for our body. Currently, industrial fish sauce is sold widely, but this type of fish sauce is mixed with many additives, losing the traditional taste. To enjoy the authentic taste of the fish sauce, you can make it at home. The way to make the delightful fish sauce is not too difficult for you. However, you need to follow some processes to ensure the final product has the right taste and meets the standard.

Ingredients for Vietnamese fish sauce recipe

  • 6 kg of fresh anchovies
  • 5 kg of clean salt,
  • 600 gr pineapple chopped and pureed.
  • Glass jars or chinaware pots which are big enough to hold anchovies.

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Anchovy is the essential ingredient to make tasty fish sauce. When choosing this type of fish, you should choose the fresh mature anchovies. This selection part will help you make a fish sauce simpler and more comfortable to succeed.

The anchovy season starts from around August to February every year. Of which, the most delicious and fat fish can be found easily from October to December. At this time, you should take advantage to make yummy fish sauce. If you only want to buy a small amount, you should choose small fishing boats that perform their jobs during the day because Fishes still keep their freshness. In order to choose the best kind of anchovies, some pickiest eaters order anchovies right after they being fished in Phu Quoc.

Process of making vietnamese fish sauce recipe

Step 1:

Wash anchovies, soak in diluted salt water for about 20 minutes. Then, pick out and let them dry.

After draining, sprinkle salt on fish and stir gently. This is the stage of brining fish “Chượp cá”. Marinated fish with the ratio four fish:1 salt. It is the most standard formula.

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Step 2:

Pour ground pineapples into the above-brined anchovies.

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Step 3:

After brining fishes, put them all in a jar. Next, spread salt on top and create an air compressed atmosphere for the sauce

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Step 4:

Bring the jar to the sun. This is the dry fermentation process of fish sauce.  We should use the type of jar with a rubber gasket to avoid water infiltration. If not, you can use adhesive tape to stick the edge of the lid.

The fish jar is dried for 3-4 days in the sun, then move to the next stage.

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Step 5:
The anchovy sauce after 5 days of brining. Fishes have a lot of core water and characteristic aroma. Filter the fish through the sieve and put into the bottle.

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Step 6:

After filtering, the fish only has 50% of the original. 6 kg fishes may be filtered of about 4 liters for the first time of incubation. This is the core water of fish sauce, but it has not been processed. Even though it has a relatively high protein content, it is still fishy. After being extracted, leave the core water in the sun with lots of light. Stir continuously during the drying process.

If you can do it in the summer, then the sauce will complete faster. In the summer, it takes about 25 days for drying processs but the required time increases to 35-40 days in the winter.

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  Step 7:
After 1.5 months of incubation, the anchovy sauce starts to have the characteristic smell without beetles and scum.

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Step 8:

Once a few days, you should stir the jar. After 4 months, we can first taste our own handmade anchovy sauce. Felling the aroma and the salty-sweet taste of the fish sauce.

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Step 9:

After filtering, the remaining can be used as seasoning sauce (When eating, add ground pineapples, and squeeze lemon and chili). After filtering, the fish sauce should be dried for another 2-3 weeks in the hot sun to create transparency and ripeness. The best filter bag is made from burlap because it is tight and thick.

How to filter the sauce as follows: Pour the whole fish sauce jar into the bag, tie one end. Then, put the sauce bag into the basket to drip down. You should not squeeze the bag to make the fish sauce flow out faster. As doing so, fish may follow to go out. This way makes the fish sauce not transparent. Cover and wait until the fish sauce drips out.

Results of finished products:

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Notes when making the fish sauce at home:

  • If you do not like the pungent taste of the fish sauce, you can add a few pieces of pineapples, 2-3 tbsp of honey or 2-3 tbsp of sugar.
  • The fine fish sauce meets the standard if having the reddish amber color. When tasting, you can feel salty at first, but only the sweet taste remain in your throat.
  • Making fish sauce is not difficult at all. It is vital that you have to follow the steps properly and ensure the sterilization as well as wait to have sufficient time. Also, the selection stage of raw materials is also critical. You should choose some typical fishes to make fish sauce, such as herring, anchovies, scad fish, and so on. But remember that all of them must be fresh. Anchovy fish sauce is considered the best with the short incubation. It is the reason why this product is top-rated.
  • The ratio of fish: salt is also essential. Too little salt will spoil fish. Too much salt makes the salty fish sauce with the heavy smell. Therefore, you should follow the ratio of 4 fish: 1 salt to surely make delicious fish sauce.

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