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State Bird Garum

This recipe is one-third of proportions of the original recipe in the State Bird Provisions cookbook by Stuart Brioza and Nicoke Krasinski. For home cooks who are experimenting, it’s less risk and easier to rather test something as a small batch than use 4 cups of fish sauce as the original recipe calls for. This recipe makes 1 2/3 cups.
Keyword: condiment, garum, long pepper


  • 1 1/3 cups fish sauce preferably Red Boat or one without sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 Indian or Indonesian long pepper or 10 whole peppercorns
  • 1- inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 whole nutmeg see Note
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1- inch section ginger peeled and sliced into 4 or 5 coins
  • 1 small lemongrass stalk tough outer layers removed, trimmed of tough top and root bottom, then cut into 2-inch sections


  • Put the fish sauce and lime juice in a blender.
  • Use a mortar and pestle to crush one spice at a time, starting with the cloves then working down to the nutmeg. Add the garlic and pound on it to crush it. Then add the ginger and finish with the lemongrass. Transfer the heady mixture to the blender. (If your mortar and pestle is small, do this in stages and add crushed ingredients to the blender.)
  • Pulse and chop the mixture to break up the solids a bit more, 15 to 30 seconds total. Transfer to a glass jar, the cap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 1 month (the longer the better). Strain the mixture through a paper-lined mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to extra as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
  • Keep the garum in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 3 months.


To break up the whole nutmeg, put it in a kitchen towel, then whack it with a heave pan to crack into several pieces. This recipe was adapted from Stuart Brioza and Nicoke Krasinski's State Bird Provisions (Ten Speed Press, 2017).