Fish sauce is the product obtained from the fermentation of a mixture of fish and salt. The raw material used in the fermentation to make fish sauce could be both freshwater and marine fish such as mackerel, sadines or anchovies.
1. The ingredients
Although fish sauce can be made from many kinds of fish and sea creature, the most common one is anchovies. The best anchovies are fresh, caught in October to December.
Vietnamese fishermen catching anchovies:
Vietnamese women choosing the best anchovies to make fish sauce:
Besides anchovies, the salt you use is also very important. Choose the purest salt and mix it with the anchovies by the ratio 4 anchovies : 1 salt.
You might be surprised to know that pineapples is also an important ingredient of fish sauce. Add it by the ratio 4 anchovies : 1 salt :1 pineapple. Also add a little of honey or sugar water in.
2. The containter
Phan Thiet makers prefer earthenware, while Phu Quoc fish sauce makers prefer wooden ones.
3. The process
After 2-4 days, let the fish liquid (nước bổi) pour out and dry the fish under the sun. Mix them several times a day. When the the amount of fish have decreased by 30-40%, add more fish. Then use nilon to cover the mouth of the containter and add a thin layer of salt on top to help fermentation and avoid maggots.
Leave the containers to ferment for about a month. then remove the salt and the nilon. Add directly on top of the fish a 15 cm salt layer. Add the nước bổi in up to 10 cm.
This is just an overview. In the past families made fish sauce for their own use. But now most do not and buy fish sauce from markets and supermarkets. However, the taste is not as good as homemade fish sauce. As my mother is not convinced about the quality and safety of sold fish sauce, she made fish sauce at home for our family. It is amazing, thank you a lot mom <3.