I need to cook dinner for a group that includes someone on a strict low-sodium kidney recovery diet. I'd really like to prepare Thai food, since she hasn't been able to go to a Thai restaurant since she developed health issues (for obvious reasons).

So what I'm looking for is recommendations of traditional or popular Thai dishes that conventionally have less than 400mg sodium per serving, ideally a lot less. For reference, both fish sauce and soy sauce have around 1200mg/tablespoon, and most traditional/common recipes for Thai dishes have more than a tablespoon and other sources of sodium besides. So the ideal dish would have a combined 2tsp (or less) of soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, etc (and no granulated salt) for a 3-4 serving batch.

I'm not looking here for "make this and just cut the fish sauce" type recommendations. Thai dishes generally have a fairly good balance of salty/sweet/sour/hot, so just cutting the salt causes them to taste overly sour or sweet. I'm looking for dishes whose common recipes never had the sodium in the first place.

First person to name three lower-sodium Thai dishes wins a check mark. I only need you to link a recipe if the recipe I have for that dish has higher sodium than yours does.

  • 1
    Hey, it looks like your question got closed because requests for recipes are not allowed on this site. I think you could get it re-opened if you modify it to focus on how to make Thai food without too much sodium. That would make more of a technique question than a recipe request question.
    – csk
    Dec 12, 2020 at 20:57
  • Per the question, I'm not interested in lowering the sodium of existing dishes.
    – FuzzyChef
    Dec 13, 2020 at 2:24
  • Sigh. I wasn't looking for recipes, but rather names of dishes. But whatever.
    – FuzzyChef
    Dec 13, 2020 at 2:31

1 Answer 1


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 until combined.

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.

  • This is an excellent set of recommendations, but it's specifically what I don't want.
    – FuzzyChef
    Dec 13, 2020 at 2:26

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