Homemade Vegetarian Oyster Sauce (Vegan Stir Fry Sauce)

A fabulous vegan stir fry sauce that can be used in any dish that calls for oyster sauce. {Vegan, Gluten-free adaptable}

 Vegan | Vegetarian | Stir Fry | Sauce | Chinese FoodOyster sauce (耗油, hào yóu), as its name suggests, is made by condensing oyster extracts by slowly simmering oysters in water. It is a flavor enhancer that is often used with soy sauce and other ingredients to cook fried noodles, fried rice and simple vegetable dishes. Hoisin sauce might be the most popular Chinese sauce in the US, but I personally always prefer oyster sauce. Unlike hoisin sauce, which is made mostly with sugar, oyster sauce has a much more sophisticated taste and adds way more flavor to a dish.

Over time I’ve received many questions about how to replace oyster sauce to make a dish vegetarian. The simplest answer is to buy a bottle of vegetarian oyster sauce, often known as mushroom-flavored stir fry sauce. Alternatively you can definitely make your own vegetarian stir fry sauce with just a few simple steps.

 Vegan | Vegetarian | Stir Fry | Sauce | Chinese Food

If you look at the label of store-bought mushroom sauce, the ingredients usually contain water, soy sauce, mushroom extract, sugar, salt, modified starch, glucose syrup, MSG, and preservatives.

The homemade version is far healthier than store-bought sauce and made with wholesome ingredients. When I make this sauce, I blend in a few extra herbs and spices, such as ginger, garlic, miso paste and five-spice powder, to give the sauce even more fragrance.

Homemade Vegetarian Oyster Sauce (Vegan Stir Fry Sauce) Ingredients

The main ingredient of vegetarian oyster sauce is dried shiitake mushrooms, which cannot be substituted by fresh ones – because they have been smoked and dried, their taste is more potent and intense. To use dried shiitake mushrooms, soak them in plenty of hot water. The mushrooms will expand 3 to 4 times their original size once soaked.

Homemade Vegetarian Oyster Sauce (Vegan Stir Fry Sauce) Ingredients

The cooking process is extremely simple… All you need is to cook the mushrooms and aromatics, blend everything into a paste, and then mix in a few more flavor enhancers.

If you do not own a blender, what you can do is mince the rehydrated mushrooms into very fine pieces before cooking. If you do this, cook them over a lower heat so you won’t burn the mushrooms.

Homemade Vegetarian Oyster Sauce Cooking Process

The finished sauce has a rich aroma and a thick texture. With this sauce, you can make a vegetarian version of the pressure cooker pilaf, simple vegetable dishes like Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce, or this scrumptious Vegetarian Chow Mein.

Noodles | Chinese Food | Vegan | Gluten Free Adaptable | One Pot

Vegetarian Chow Mein (Click image to view recipe)

I found that not only does it work great in stir fries, it’s also delicious eaten raw. Please feel free to experiment with the sauce, like adding it into salad dressing, using it as a dipping sauce, or even spreading it on a piece of toast!

 Vegan | Vegetarian | Stir Fry | Sauce | Chinese Food

If you give this recipe a try or discover a new way to use the sauce, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Homemade Vegetarian Oyster Sauce (Vegan Stir Fry Sauce)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The recipe prep time does not include the time you use to soak the shiitake mushrooms.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 1 and 1/4 cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Gently rinse the shiitake mushrooms to remove the dust on the surface. Transfer into a bowl and cover with 2-inches hot water. Soak until the mushrooms turn completely tender, 30 minutes to 1 hour. To test each mushroom, press the cap with your fingers. You shouldn’t feel any tough spots.
  2. Rinse the mushrooms in the soaking water by gently rubbing the caps with your fingers. Squeeze out extra liquid and transfer the mushrooms to a cutting board. Let the mushroom-soaking water sit for 10 minutes. Save the soaking liquid (we will use it later in this recipe). Slice the mushrooms into thin pieces.
  3. Heat peanut oil in a medium size pan over medium heat until warm. Add shiitake mushrooms. Cook and stir until both sides turns golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic. Cook and stir for another minute. Transfer everything into a food processor.
  4. Add 1 cup of the reserved mushroom-soaking liquid to the food processor. Puree until smooth. Return everything into the fry pan.
  5. Add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, miso paste, syrup and five spice powder in a small bowl. Whisk until the miso paste has dissolved completely. Pour into the frying pan and stir to mix well.
  6. Cook over low heat until the sauce is brought to a gentle simmer and is thick enough to coat a spoon. If the sauce turns too dry, add a few more spoons of the mushroom-soaking water.
  7. Remove the pan from stove, add sesame oil, and stir to mix well. Transfer to a big bowl to cool.
  8. Once the sauce has cooled down completely, transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up for 1 week or in the freezer for 2 months.
Notes
1. The miso paste is added as a hidden flavor to make the sauce more interesting. Either red or white miso paste can be used here. Skip this ingredient if you’re cooking a gluten-free sauce, since most miso pastes contain wheat.

2. Dark soy sauce will add a dark brown color to this sauce. You can replace it with normal soy sauce. The color of the final product will be slightly lighter but it does not affect the taste.

 

Homemade Vegetarian Oyster Sauce (Vegan Stir Fry Sauce) - Vegan | Vegetarian | Stir Fry | Sauce | Chinese Food | Gluten-Free

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Share:

Never Miss a Recipe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  

6 thoughts on “Homemade Vegetarian Oyster Sauce (Vegan Stir Fry Sauce)

  1. rnh

    The recipe looks good. I wish it kept longer than a week in the fridge. Oyster sauce keeps for months. I wonder if a few dried oysters would work in the recipe.

    Reply
    1. Maggie

      So far I’ve kept the sauce in the fridge for 2 weeks without any problem. I also tried freeze it then defrost, and the texture remains the same. If you want to keep it for month, storing the sauce in a small container or in ice tray in the freezer might be the best option.
      The bottled oyster sauce contains food preservatives, so it always has a longer shelf than the homemade one.
      To answer your question, yes, the proper way to make oyster sauce is to use dried oyster or oyster extract. Mine is designed for the vegetarian diet, so I didn’t include them.
      Let me know how the cooking goes if you decide to try out this dish 🙂 Happy cooking!

      Reply