Homemade Oyster Sauce Recipe: When Bottled Just Won't Do (or You Can't Find It) by Donna John
Oyster sauce is a thick, sweet, salty Asian sauce that's made with oyster broth. Using oyster sauce in recipes boosts the umami and helps make a savory, earthy dish. Oyster sauce can be used in stir fries, marinades and glazes, as a dip, and on vegetables, noodles, rice, chicken, beef or seafood.
Oyster sauce is like a cross between soy sauce and an earthy barbecue sauce. You can buy oyster sauce at most grocery stores, but if you can't find it or you're adventurous, you can make homemade oyster sauce.
This oyster sauce recipe is made with fresh or frozen oysters (thaw if using frozen), water, cornstarch, granulated sugar, salt and a touch of dark soy sauce. Start by making an oyster broth with the oysters and water. After removing the oysters, the broth is strained and then reduced to about 1 cup. A slurry of cornstarch, sugar, salt and dark soy sauce is added and it is cooked until thick. Cool and keep the sauce in a clean, airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.
Legend has it that oyster sauce was invented by Lee Kum Sheung in Southern China in 1888. The restauranteur was making a pot of oyster soup and forget it was simmering. It turned into a thick sauce that he was fascinated with. The rest, as they say, is history.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
- 20 ounces oysters (fresh or frozen), rinsed well
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water (divided)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
Here's how to make it:
- Put the clean oysters into a saucepot with the 2 cups of water. Bring to a gentle simmer, reduce heat and cook about 30 minutes. (Remove any foam from the top with a large spoon.) Remove the oysters and save for another recipe. Strain the oyster broth through a fine mesh strainer. You should have a little over 1 cup of oyster broth.
- Stir together the cornstarch, sugar, salt, dark soy sauce and 2 tablespoons water in a bowl.
- Put the oyster broth back into the saucepot and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 8 to 10 minutes or until oyster sauce is thick.
- Pour the oyster sauce into an airtight container and cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
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