Making Fish Sauce

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making fish sauce closeupHow did I end up with 10 pounds of fresh sardines?  On our way back from Half Moon Bay, we stopped at a fish market. They had beautiful local fresh sardines. Hmmm... The fish looked so fresh: they could be delicious.

It was the end of the day. The fish monger was trying to get Peter to take the 20 pounds that he had. “You’ve got a freezer?”, the guy said.  “Yes, but it’s full.”, I told him.  “They look really good.”, Peter said. "What would I do with them?  Fish sauce?”, I was just joking.  My memory was blurred from that point on. Somehow I reluctantly agreed with Peter and took 10 pounds of fresh sardines home.

When we got home, the reality hit. I had to do something with the fish!  We ate some for dinner and decided to turn the rest into fish sauce.

We didn't have big enough containers to hold them. Commercial fish sauce is made in a 4 cubic meter cement containers. Traditionally, home made fish sauce is made in an earthenware. My mother makes hers in an earthenware that is big enough to hold an adult.  It sits outside, sunny or rainy. I scrounged 3 jars; two hold 1 ½ pounds of fish and the other holds 3 pounds of fish. It will take at least 12 months for the fish sauce to finish the first stage of the process.  Then you continue to ferment it for a few more months to get better fish sauce. With my mother’s recipe, we’ll be adding pineapple to help breaking down the fish, too.

I'll take pictures along the way.  Come back and check out how the fish sauce turns out.

Read part 2 of Making Fish Saucemaking fish sauce

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