I would like to make a "Thai beef with carrot-basil salad" recipe. The sauce for the ground beef includes the following ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup clam juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Is there something I can use instead of clam juice that will have a similar flavor and/or consistency contribution to the recipe? (I'm cooking for somebody who doesn't eat shellfish.)


Fish sauce! I think the clam juice is probably already a substitute for fish sauce anyway, so it should make a very good substitute. (If you look up recipes for Thai beef salad you'll find tons of things with fish sauce, and probably not much with clam juice.)

You probably want to use less, though, maybe starting with 2-4 tablespoons, though I've seen recipes using more.

It should be fine for the dietary restriction too; it's just made with anchovies, not an unknown blend of seafood, but of course check the label just in case.

  • Definetively start with less fish sauce than clam juice, you can always add a bit more to taste.
    – Stephie
    May 29 '16 at 17:25
  • Fish sauce is also extremely salty, so you could probably omit the salt that's called for. May 29 '16 at 19:26
  • 3
    +1 Absolutely, but A LOT less. Like start with 1/2 tablespoon in 1/2 cup of beef or chicken broth (reduced sodium, ideally) as a substitute for the clam juice in that recipe, and then add 1/4 tsp at a time tasting after each addition (I'd expect 1 TBS to be about the maximum). And @NateEldridge is right, the OP probably won't need to add salt at all. See bonappetit.com/recipe/thai-beef-with-basil
    – Jolenealaska
    May 29 '16 at 20:03
  • 1
    Make sure to check the fish sauce ingredients, as there are quite a few out there that include shellfish, and if the person has an allergy you'll want to make sure it doesn't have shrimp or something else in it.
    – Joe
    May 30 '16 at 2:31
  • @Jolenealaska That sounds way under to me. I know it's strong, but this kind of thing is supposed to be pretty fishy, and when searching I found recipes with more like 2-4 tablespoons for what was as far as I can tell a similar amount of dressing.
    – Cascabel
    May 30 '16 at 5:41

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