In November: Fish Sauce

Find some time on a Sunday afternoon to make fish sauce.

A fine vintage

A fine vintage

I’ve taken to using this quick DIY fish sauce over anchovies in a jar when it’s time to make kimchi.   It’s not really a short cut because opening a jar would be faster than making even this fast fish essence.

Little fish with a big bite

Little fish with a big bite

Toast the anchovies and put them in a glass jar or bottle, add apple cider vinegar, coarse salt and let sit.  I didn’t have enough vinegar so I used some Grüner Veltliner to  make up for it.

Fish in a bottle

Fish in a bottle

You could strain and use as is, or blend everything in a blender and then strain.   I’ve tried it both ways and can say either method will yield you the fishy results you’re going after.

Use white radishes as you would daikon

Use white radishes as you would daikon

Part of me thinks I can’t call this concoction a fish ‘sauce’, that somehow it’s more of an ‘essence’.  Maybe because it doesn’t take as long to make as a sauce might?


Cabbage & radish

But you’ll see this recipe packs a mighty punch of fish.  It’s not wimpy.  So you don’t have to worry about that.

By hand

By hand

Though I make this recipe primarily for kimchi, I think you could sprinkle it over your sautéed leafy greens e.g. collards and mustard greens for a nice finish.

Fish essence

The ingredients

20 dried anchovies

1 cup apple cider vinegar (or white, rice wine)

3-4 tsp of coarse salt (add more to taste or omit altogether for less salty flavor)

The steps

1. Toast anchovies in a pan over low heat for about 15 minutes.  A perforated, cast iron, or saute pan are all good choices.

2. In a glass bottle or jar, add anchovies, vinegar and salt.  Let sit for anywhere from 30 minutes to over night.

3. Strain before use.  You can keep adding vinegar to your fish and coarse salt mixture and keep using until the concoction has lost its fishy punch.

Related posts:

Just Make It Yourself: Eau de Fish 



3 thoughts on “In November: Fish Sauce

  1. Pingback: I Play The Mandoline | DIY Korean Food

  2. Pingback: Ask A Korean: Are You Korean Enough? | DIY Korean Food

  3. Pingback: Cuke U! | DIY Korean Food

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