Fish sauce is a classic ingredient in Filipino foods that can be used to add a salty flavor to Asian and American dishes alike. We sell a large variety of fish sauce on our site, but perhaps you want to learn how this special sauce is actually made. Here is a look at what goes on in the making of fish sauce.
In order for fish sauce to smell edible and pleasant, the fish used to make it have to be very fresh. These fish are usually small enough that they could not provide a good meal on their own. The fish are soaked in sea salt right when they come off the boats, and they are put in special jars that can be used for fermentation. The jars are sealed up to allow the fish to produce juice and sauce.
The jars that the fish go into usually sit in the sun for 9 to 12 months. That allows the fish to fully ferment, similar to the way wine ferments. The jars are periodically opened and left to get direct sunlight, which helps produce a richer, purer fish sauce to use in Filipino recipes. The sauce should be a deep red color when it comes out. Once the jars have fermented long enough, the sauce is drained from them so that only liquid comes out.
Some grades of fish sauce are left out for shorter amounts of time in order to increase production. These sauces tend to be less expensive and less rich in flavor. You can try some of the different sauces we have on the site to see what you like.
Now that you know how fish sauce is made, you can have a greater appreciation for the work and time that goes into creating just one bottle of sauce for you to use at home. Test this sauce out in different recipes and see what it could do for you.