How to Use Fish Sauce in Filipino Recipes

Salty, umami, and a little funky: fish sauce is an essential condiment that you should have in your kitchen. This pungent ingredient is made by extracting the liquid produced by fermented fish. Sounds sexy, right? But this condiment brings in a different flavor profile compared to salt. Fish sauce can provide a richer and more savory result to your dishes.

Typically, fish sauce is used in Southeast Asian cuisine. I’m gonna show you how we use fish sauce (or patis) in Filipino recipes. I started off with three easy recipes: Pinatisang manok, Halang-halang, and Ginataang isda. Watch the video below to see how they’re made, scroll down for the complete recipes.




  • 1kg of beef short ribs and chuck
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 Litre of beef broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large piece of ginger, sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced (separate green segment)
  • Some Lorins Patis Puro
  • 4 birds eye chilies
  • ½ Chinese cabbage
  1. Prep your vegetables. In a pot of boiling water, add in beef and green scallions. Boil for 10 minutes and skim off the fat. Strain and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, add oil and sear beef until a crust forms. Set aside.
  3. Add in ginger. Once it starts to brown, add in onions, red bell peppers, and white scallions. Once soft, add in garlic and chili. Continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add in beef and submerge in beef broth.
  4. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. At the 90-minute mark, add in Lorins patis to taste. After 2 hours, check and adjust seasoning.
  5. Before serving, add in Chinese cabbage. Garnish with coriander.


Pinatisang Manok

  • 1 kilo thighs and chicken wings
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pc lemongrass, pounded and sliced into 3-inch stalks
  • 2 thumb sizes of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 red chilies, thinly sliced
  • 1 liter of coconut water
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 3 Long green chilies
  • 4 tbsp Lorins Patis Puro to season
  1. Over medium-high heat, sear chicken on both sides until it starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In the same pan, fry ginger for 3 minutes. Add in onions, lemongrass, and garlic.
  3. Add in red chili and chicken. Season to taste with Lorins patis.
  4. Add in enough coconut water to fill half of the pan. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add in green chilis, simmer for an additional 3 minutes. Add spinach right before serving.


Ginataang Isda

  • ½ red onion
  • 1 thumb-sized piece ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp alamang guisado
  • 2 Thai birds eye chilies,
  • 1 lemon grass stalk
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 heaped tbsp brown sugar
  • small bunch coriander
  • 1 can of coconut Milk
  • 1 lime
  • a small bunch of scallions
  • 3 pieces of lime leaves
1. Prep ginger, garlic, birds eye chilies, lemon grass, lime leaves, scallions, and coriander.
2. Score fish 1/2cm deep on both sides. Season inside with salt, and stuff with green scallions and ginger. Place on a lined sheet pan. Add in onions, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes.
3. In a hot pan, fry chili, garlic, onions, and lime leaves. Once fragrant, add alamang guisado. Mix until incorporated. Add in coconut milk, sugar, and lemon grass stalks. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Season with fish sauce to taste.
Erwan Heussaff
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