BRYANNA GROGAN’S NEW HOMEMADE CHINESE VEGETARIAN MUSHROOM “OYSTER” SAUCE (ALSO KNOWN AS “VEGETARIAN STIR-FRY SAUCE”)
Makes 18 liquid oz., or about the same as a commercial bottle. I sent Bryanna a basic substitute, she sent back a great homemade recipe for this sometimes hard to find condiment. Chinese oyster sauce is a favorite flavoring, thick, rich-tasting, and slightly sweet.
Bryanna says, "This recipe differs from the one in my Chinese cookbook in that you don’t need mushroom bouillon cubes, which are expensive and sometimes difficult to find. I wanted to make one that would be cheaper and would use easily available ingredients.
You can find commercial vegetarian versions, made with mushrooms, in some Asian groceries and large supermarkets. Sometimes it is labeled "vegetarian oyster sauce" or "mushroom oyster sauce". It is also marketed as "vegetarian stir-fry
sauce". It keeps for a long time in the refrigerator. However, it can be difficult for pople in some areas to find.
ABOUT DRIED MUSHROOMS: For the dried mushrooms, you don’t need expensive shiitakes (unless that's all you can get)— just use the inexpensive dried Chinese mushrooms that are easily available. Snap off the stems and discard them, then grind the mushrooms to a powder in a DRY blender or coffee/spice grinder (well-cleaned).
ABOUT CHINESE BROWN BEAN SAUCE: This is a very common Chinese
ingredient and should be available wherever Chinese foods are sold. It is also known as “brown bean paste”, “yellow bean paste or sauce", “soybean condiment”, “Yuan Shai Shih” or “Mo Yuen Shih”. If, however, you can’t find it, substitute a mild brown miso, mixed with a bit of water to make a softer mixture, sort of halfway between a sauce and a paste.
1 1/2 cups boiling water
6 tablespoons ground dried Chinese mushroom (see note above)
OR wild mushroom powder
6 tablespoons Chinese brown bean sauce (see note above for alternate names and substitute)
6 tablespoons soy sauce Ellen's note: I used reduced sodium soy sauce
scant 1/2 cup dark unbleached or brown sugar, or Sucanat
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in
1 tablespoon cold water
Blend all the ingredients EXCEPT the dissolved cornstarch in a blender (leave the plastic thing out of the center hole in the blender lid and cover with a folded towel, so that the hot liquid doesn’t explode) until as smooth as possible. Pour into in a medium saucepan and heat to boiling over high heat. Add the dissolved cornstarch and stir until thickened. Cool and store in a covered jar or bottle in the refrigerator. Since it is quite salty and sweet, it should keep for several months.
Microwave: You can microwave the mixture, with the cornstarch, in a medium bowl and cook on HIGH for 1 minute, then whisk. Repeat until thickened.