Ingredient of the Moment: Fish Sauce

green-mango-salad-2Come summer, a simple equation pops up with increasing frequency: Summer + heat = Lots of salads. Given that the past week led to scorching days in the upper 30s (which, in Toronto, is really, really hot), and given that we don’t have air conditioning at home, this equation more or less became Summer + heat + total inability to move = Nothing but salads.

The last part of the equation – the total inability to move – sort of meant that I was way too lazy to do anything but the basics. But even I got tired of tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese cubes and balsamic vinegar, which was my staple. Changing up the ingredients alleviates the boredom, but it’s the balsamic vinegar (or any kind of vinegar) that I couldn’t escape.

Then one day, when it was only 32C (ha), I decided to do something different, and tried a Thai mango salad. Online recipes varied a lot, but the main dressing ingredients seemed to be lime juice, fish sauce, parsley/coriander/basil, and sugar. And voila! A new dressing that I couldn’t get enough of, mainly because of the fish sauce.

I’d never used it before, because it sounded really…well, fishy. But it’s nice when used judiciously. I’ve been chucking in chili sauce and sesame oil, and just about anything that’s in the kitchen, and it has definitely enlivened my diet.

What’s your ingredient of the moment?

– Jean AAR

10 thoughts on “Ingredient of the Moment: Fish Sauce

  1. LeeB.

    Well, I’m not much of a cook but fish sauce doesn’t really sound appetizing. My ingredient to add in pasta or mac’n’cheese is Asiago cheese. Yummy!

  2. Audrey

    I’ve been on a fresh lemon streak. Adding a little juice or zest to all sorts of stuff adds a lot of flavor. If you can bear to cook some pasta (maybe at midnight?) one of our go to salads is pasta, peas, crab or shrimp (I use the fake crab) some green onion, mayo and lemon zest and juice. Yum. Another one we like a lot and is no cook is a can of black beans rinsed and drained, a can of corn drained, jalapenos, green or red or yellow peppers, and then lime juice and cilantro. No oil either which is great.

  3. LisaCharlotte

    I use fish sauce for my beef satay with peanut dipping sauce. My sons favorite dish. Easy, simple recipe with loads of flavor and heat (Sriracha). I found the recipe at

  4. LinnieGayl AAR

    I’m a big fan of mango, so this does sound interesting, although I’ve only ever used fish sauce in stir fries before.

    My ingredient of the moment is definitely fresh lime juice. I’ve been buying gobs of limes and have been adding the juice to salad dressings, water, and even some fruits and veggies. Am currently wondering how it would taste in iced tea.

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