Many of you are already familiar with this infamous jar of mystery glop I posted on Facebook several weeks ago:
This laughably gross-looking concoction is actually my attempt to make Sally’s recipe for traditional fish sauce. You’ll just have to read on to see how it turned out! 😉
Fermented Fish Sauce is found on page 157 of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon.
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- 1 1⁄2 pounds small fish, including heads, cut up
- 3 tablespoons sea salt
- 2 cups filtered water
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- 2 bay leaves, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- several pieces lemon rind
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (available in African markets), optional
- 2 tablespoons whey page 87
Mix together the other ingredients in a bowl and then cram it in there. Cover with water, leaving an inch of space below the top of the jar.
Now, let it ferment at room temperature in your cupboard for three days. Then, put it in the fridge and let it sit for “several weeks.” I tried to give mine a little shake from time to time when it was in there.
How’d it go?
Stuffing a bunch of slimy fish heads into a jar was actually pretty fun. I had an eyeball pop out on me. Like, it popped right out of the socket as I was squishing it into the jar. Pretty funny! And gross. (I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture of this.)
One thing I would do differently next time is to either chop up the heads into smaller, more pack-able pieces, or use small whole fish as Sally recommends. I used these heads since pretty much all the goods are up in there — did you know that if you have thyroid troubles, for example, that traditional medicine says you should consume fish heads — because you’re eating the fishy’s hypothalamus gland? But they were not easy to stuff down and pound out the juice. I’ll try to prepare them better in the future.
How we liked it
Um. I honestly was not really expecting to be able to use this. I thought this was a recipe that would make for great blogging material, but I wasn’t sold on actually ingesting the jar of fish noggin juice.
I nervously unscrewed the lid today about a month after I had first put it into the fridge.
My nose reluctantly inched its way toward the contents. Completely certain this was going to reek of rotting dead fish, I took a sniff.
It smelled… delicious! Very salty, very garlicky, and fishy without being…fishy.
I was feeling brave, and went in for a taste test with my finger. Hooray! It tasted exactly how it smelled! I could totally see this being great in soups and other recipes needing a bit of a bold, yet non-spicy flavor added in. Especially one with all kinds of probiotic, mineral-rich goodness inside!
Pre-Hubs agreed that it smelled surprisingly good, but declined a finger test.
“Uhh… nnnoo. I’m… not gonna do that. I’ll try it once it’s… cooked in things. Without you telling me,” he asserted, with a decidedly doubtful look on his face. Probably still couldn’t get past the jar of slimy heads, bony tails, and other fish glop sitting there in the jar from which it was strained.
Fair enough. I’ll be happy to sneak in some fermented fish eyeball juice into your food, dear!
Are you daring enough to try out this fish sauce? Or has it not quite gotten *that* real up in your kitchen yet?
Be sure to check out the other installments of 25 Days of Nourishing Traditions:
- Onion-Cranberry Compote
- Sweet Potato Puree
- Ginger Carrots
- Stuffed Peppers
- Turkey Stock
- Coconut Turkey Soup
- Carrots Vichy
- Breaded Whitefish
- Moussaka Eggplant Casserole
- Breaded Chicken Breasts
- Baked Custard
- Basic Dressing
- Crispy Walnuts
- Zucchini Cakes
- Roman Egg Soup
- Pineapple Vinegar
- Raisin Nut Cookies
- Roast Chicken
- Fruit Custard Cake
- Beurre Blanc