Oyster sauce may be a key ingredient in many Chinese and Asian recipes, including many of the recipes on The Woks of Life. It’s also included in our list of 10 Essential Chinese Pantry Ingredients. But what if you’re vegan or vegetarian, or have a shellfish allergy? That’s where vegetarian oyster sauce comes in!
WHAT IS VEGETARIAN OYSTER SAUCE?
Regular oyster sauce is formed with oyster extracts and seasonings. Vegetarian oyster sauce has no oysters in it. Instead, it’s made with mushrooms, though it’s similar in color and texture to regular oyster sauce.
See the difference between the vegetarian and regular versions below. The vegetarian is on the left, and therefore the regular is on the proper . they’re similar in color and consistency, though the vegetarian version may be a little thinner.
HOW IS IT USED?
Oyster sauce is an umami booster/flavor enhancer. We add it to meat marinades, stir-fry sauces, and braises.
Luckily, mushrooms have a deep, meaty flavor. they’re the right candidate to make a vegetarian version of oyster sauce.
Use it interchangeably with oyster sauce in any of our recipes that decision for it, like our Ultimate Braised Tofu or Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce.
BUYING & STORING
Just a couple of brands make vegetarian oyster sauce as of this writing (October 2019).
Oriental Mascot makes a “Vegetarian Oyster Flavored Sauce.” Despite what the words “oyster flavored” imply, there are not any oysters in it, just mushroom extracts. This brand doesn’t contain soy and appears to be gluten-free. However, it does contain hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which can be derived from wheat, so check the label carefully before purchasing if gluten is an issue!
Lee Kum Kee makes an identical product that they call “Vegetarian Stir-fry Sauce.” (This could also be a better naming strategy, to form it clear that there are not any oysters in it.)
This product contains wheat, and is therefore not gluten-free. (Note: Lee Kum Kee does make a gluten-free oyster sauce under its Panda Brand, but it’s not vegetarian.)
he other brand you would possibly find is Wan Ja Shan.
As you’ll see from the ingredients below, soybeans and shiitake powder form the bottom and flavor of the sauce. It does contain wheat, however, so it’s not gluten-free.
Store these within the refrigerator, and that they will keep for 1 year. Just make certain to avoid any cross-contamination within the bottle.
HOW MAKE VEGAN OYSTER SAUCE
It just requires 5 ingredients and 10 minutes! Combine water, soy sauce, coconut sugar, salt, mushroom powder (check this post to find out the way to make it), and cornstarch during a saucepan.
Bring to a boil and whisk regularly until it thickens. Remove from heat, let cool, and transfer to a clean jar. Done. It’s THAT easy!
Not only this sauce finishes up being cheaper than store-bought, but it’s also healthier and naturally sweetened.
WHERE TO USE IT
- Noodles: this sauce beautifully coats noodles, giving them the right balance of sweetness and saltiness.
- Fried rice: For extra umami and a subtle sweetness.
- Vegetable stir-fry: Stir during a few tablespoons of the sauce once your veggies are cooked and stir to coat.
- Marinades: Combine with five-spice or sriracha for a delicious marinade! Perfect for tofu, tempeh, or seitan!
- Dipping Sauce: Dilute with some water, add a squeeze of lime, and minced garlic. Delicious with steamed veggies, sushi, or maybe summer rolls.
Looking for more Asian-inspired condiments? inspect the way to make Saté, duck sauce , or this Vietnamese Soybean Sauce!
Let me know within the comments if you are trying this recipe!