Does Thai curry have fish sauce?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “does Thai curry have fish sauce?”, what is Thai fish sauce made of, the different types of curries, what to use instead of fish sauce, and other queries related to this topic.

Does Thai curry have fish sauce? 

Yes, the majority of Thai curry has fish sauce in it. However, fish sauce is not always mentioned in the ingredients list on the product label. Thai curry is widely used in Thai cuisine and recipes.

Moreover, if you are vegan and you want to eat in a Thai restaurant make sure to order dishes that do not contain curry. Instead, go for dishes that contain red chili flakes or red chili sauce known as Prik Namsom which is a kind of red chili sauce with a vinegar base.

What is Thai fish sauce made of?

Thai fish sauce is made from anchovies that are fermented with salt. The mixture is put in the sun in a barrel and kept for a long period which is usually one year. Once fully fermented, the sauce is extracted by pressing the anchovies. The sauce has an amber color.

However, some brands use sardines, herring, mackerel, or other types of fish to make the sauce. Also, some of the manufacturers add sugar and preservatives to the fish sauce.

Moreover, The difference between the Thai fish sauce and the Vietnamese one is in the taste. Thai fish sauce has a stronger taste compared to Vietnamese fish sauce. Hence they are both made from anchovies and salt. But also, manufacturers add extra ingredients to it.

What are the differences between typical Thai curries?

There are many types of Thai curries such as yellow, red, and green. The color of the curry paste is the main difference between them. However, there are many differences between the three types:

  • The yellow curry: is made from yellow chili with the addition of turmeric, curry powder, cumin, lemongrass, coriander seeds, galangal or ginger, and garlic. Its taste is a little bit sweet and spicy.
  • The red curry: traditionally it was made of only red chilies that give it the red color and its spicy taste. Recently, more ingredients were added to it such as chili powder and tomato sauce. These ingredients have enhanced the red color of the curry.
  • The green curry: is the most used curry. Previously it was only made from green chili but nowadays fresh cilantro, basil, lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, ginger, shallots, and makrut or kaffir lime leaf and peel are added to it.
  • Massaman curry: a type of yellow curry. It is sweet, spicy, and aromatic. It contains cardamom, galangal, lemongrass, garlic, and cinnamon. Mostly used in Indian cuisine.
  • Panang curry: is a type of red has a sweet taste despite containing a lot of spices and one of its main ingredients is coconut milk. The other ingredients are chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, peanuts, cumin, fish sauce, coriander, and many others.

What can I use instead of fish sauce?

If your recipe needs fish sauce and you do not have it, there are many options to substitute it and have a similar taste:

  • Soy sauce: is made from fermented soybeans with water, salt, and wheat. However, soy sauce is high in sodium. If you want to reduce your sodium intake choose a low sodium soy sauce.
  • Oyster sauce: it has a similar taste to the fish sauce. However, its consistency is thicker than the fish sauce. So to make it thinner add some water to the oyster sauce.
  • Tamari: is a type of soy sauce. It has the same ingredients as the soy sauce like soybeans, water, and salt but with some additions such as moromi. Hence, it does not contain wheat.
  • Worcestershire sauce: like fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies, and what differentiates it from the fish sauce is the addition of molasses, tamarind, vinegar, cloves, and onion.
  • Seaweeds: you can find them fresh or dried like nori and both can add an extra flavor to your recipe.
  • Coconut aminos: are produced from the fermentation of the coconut sap which is a product of the coconut flower. The final product or the sauce has a dark color and a sweet taste compared to fish and soy sauce.
  • Broth made of mushroom and soy sauce: is good for sauces and soups. It has simple ingredients like water, soy sauce, and shiitake mushrooms.
  • Vegan fish sauce: made from a type of mushrooms called shiitake, soy sauce, and liquid aminos. Liquid aminos are amino acids extracted from soybeans or fermented coconut aminos.

Other FAQs about Curry that you may be interested in.

Are curry leaves safe to eat?

How long can you freeze cooked chicken curry?

How hot is yellow curry paste?


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “does Thai curry have fish sauce?”, what is Thai fish sauce made of, the different types of curries, what to use instead of fish sauce, and other queries related to this topic.


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