Instead of limiting yourself to specifically low-sodium recipes, try substituting low-sodium versions of soy sauce and fish sauce into your favorite traditional recipes. This will give you a much wider range of options.
Low-sodium soy sauce is easy to find in almost any store that sells soy sauce. If the low-sodium soy sauce still has too much sodium, dilute it with fruit juice, such as pineapple juice. Or dilute it with unsalted mushroom broth, made by simmering dried mushrooms in water.
Make your own low-sodium fish sauce to use as a substitute for fish sauce. Here's one recipe from nwkidney.org
Fish Sauce Substitute
- 2 teaspoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup water
- Optional: 2 teaspoons plum jam or orange marmalade
Directions: In a small sauce bowl, combine all ingredients with a whisk
Nutrition: Serving size, 1 tablespoon, 10 calories, 1g carbo
Based on other sources and recipes I looked at, the key ingredient is the molasses, which gives the color of fish sauce, and some of the umami. So you can adjust the proportions to your personal taste.
If some salt is acceptable, you can add some of the fish flavor by adding a small amount of preserved fish paste. Regional varieties of fish paste include: alique, bagoong, balao-balao, ngapi, padaek, petis ikan, prahok, shrimp paste and Anchovette. These all have a high salt content (to preserve the fish), but you can use a much smaller amount than you would of fish sauce, so you have control of how much salt you add. This is probably not appropriate for your kidney recovery dinner guest, but you could separate your finished dish into two portions and add fish paste to the portion for any guests who are not on the low-sodium diet. (If adding it as a last step, first dilute the paste in some liquid like vinegar or water so it is easier to mix in. Otherwise you might get lumps of fish paste, which would be ... surprising.)
There are some lower-sodium options you can substitute for fish sauce. They still have a fair amount of sodium, but not as much as fish sauce.
- coconut aminos / liquid aminos
- Worcestershire sauce
- oyster sauce - some brands have a reduced sodium option (eg, Lee Kim Kee Panda Brand)
Also, you can make a low-sodium Thai peanut sauce. Here's a recipe for low-sodium Thai noodles. And of course you can substitute that sauce or something similar into any Thai recipe with a peanut sauce.