How to Make Patis (Fish Sauce)

Fish sauce or Patis is a clear, amber-colored liquid condiment that is derived from salted and fermented fish, and is rich in protein.  Fish sauce is a staple ingredient in many Filipino cuisines and added to dishes during the cooking process to add a distinctive and flavorful taste.  Fish sauce can also be used in mixed form as a dipping condiment, and it is done in many different ways by each country mentioned for fish, shrimp, pork, and chicken.   Some fish sauces contain only fish and salt, others add a variety of herbs and spices.  Fish sauce that has been only briefly fermented has a pronounced fishy taste, while extended fermentation reduces this and gives the product a nuttier, cheesier flavor.

How to Make Patis (Fish Sauce)



  • Fish of assorted species
  • Enzymes from micro-organisms
  • Salt


  • Fermentation vessels provided with stirrer


  1. Wash assorted species of fish to free them from undesirable dirt.
  2. Grind fish to facilitate hydrolysis of the protein constituent.
  3. Place ground fish into clean fermentation vessels provided with stirrer.
  4. Add appropriate amount of salt and mix uniformly to inhibit the growth of micro-organisms during fermentation.
  5. Introduce enzymes obtained from micro-organisms of plant animals to fortify the natural endoenzymes present in the fish. Stir the mixture.
  6. Adjust the pH requirement of the particular enzyme used.
  7. Ferment for 13 days. Clean the digested mash by filtering. Bottle the clear reddish brown liquid as patis and the residue containing some insoluble protein as “bagoong.”
  8. Fermentation is allowed to occur for 13 days. The digested mash is cleared and from the filtered clear reddish brown liquid is bottled as quality patis and the residue containing some insoluble protein as bagoong.

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