Using Fish Sauce to Mimic Dry Aging

Yoo guys!

So @RichardOL mentioned using fish sauce in one his recent posts. I think it might be used to mimic aging. Lots of questions around using fish sauce, its benefits, and how this actually affects the cooking process.

Seems like it’s a semi-popular thing, as it has been brought up in the Facebook group.

Anyone used fish sauce? Any insight?

RichardOL thought it was a good to start a thread on this, and I agree. I’m equally as curious about it.

Fish sauce is a salt and enzyme cocktail. Besides the enzymes from the fish itself, there are enzymes added in production to ease things like descaling, skin removal / breakdown, etc.

These enzymes will continue to be functional and will act on the steak (or whatever) until they are denatured during the cooking process.

Not unlike the step-cooking of 103F, then 120F to “warm age” a steak for tenderness with it’s own natural enzymes before the final cooking step.

I’ve tried a lot of “dry aging substitutes” or shortcuts over the years, salting, koji rice, warm aging, controlled fermentation, etc… Some yield better results than others, but never really found one that comes close to true dry aging.

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Thank you @acs!

The info is super helpful. Started to see fish sauce being used in some recipes and was curious to its benefit. Starting to see a lot of recipes with dry aging alternatives.

I think the best thing you can do is try for yourself. I can tell you my experiences, but tastes are individual. I might not like a steak cooked with _____, but you might.

Such being said:

The oddest one I tried was ground Koji rice. It’s actually a mold that produces some enzymes. The catch is they are amalyze and protease which convert starch to sugars. The meat pseudo dry ages in mere hours, but it’s sweet because these enzymes. Reheated, it tastes like boiled rice. It’s strange. I didn’t care for it.

The salt process, as explained quite well here, http://steamykitchen.com/163-how-to-turn-cheap-choice-steaks-into-gucci-prime-steaks.html
works really well. So long as you don’t leave the steak salted for too long.

The step cooking works. It’s not dry aged, it’s different and less pronounced.

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You’re definitely right! Everyone has different food/cooking preferences. Looks like the salt process is super easy to do (I like easy food steps). Might just try that out.

Is the step @ 120F crucial? I skipped this step as some said the enzymes at that temp might give a off putting taste to the beef and also was abit sceptical to prolonged cooking at extreme low temps. Steak turned out tender at some parts and mushy at others. Final temp was 135F. Total cooking time 3 hours.