Fish Sauce

From Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon – on fish sauce in soup

“Another excellent addition to soup is fish sauce. You can make this yourself (see below), or buy a Thai or Vietnamese variety (called nam pla or nuoc mam). These clear brown fermented sauces, made from small whole fish including the head and organs, are rich in iodine and other substances that benefit the thyroid gland. On heating the fishy taste disappears but the nutrients remain. You may add fish sauce to any heated soup instead of salt.”

Fermented Fish Sauce – makes about 2 cups

1½ lbs small fish, including heads, cut up (sardines work well)

3 Tbsp sea salt

2 c. filtered water

2 cloves garlic, mashed

2 bay leaves, crumbled

1 tsp peppercorns

several pieces lemon rind

1 Tbsp tamarind paste (optional)

2 Tbsp whey

Toss fish pieces in salt and place in a wide-mouth, quart-sized mason jar. Press down with a wooden pounder or meat hammer. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over fish. Add additional water to cover fish thoroughly. The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and leave at room temperature for about three days. Transfer to refrigerator for several weeks. Drain liquid through a strainer and store fish sauce in the refrigerator.

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