Vegan Oyster Sauce
You want to use a high quality dried shitake mushroom. Rinse the mushroom with running water to get rid of any dust that is on the surface.
Soak them with water for about 3 hours until they are nice and soft. You do want to use bottled water because we also going to reserve the water for this recipe.
Squeeze the water out of the mushrooms. Slice them thinly and roughly dice it so it will be easier to blend. Put the mushroom back to the water and dump everything to a blender.
Blend them until smooth. You want to get a smooth texture, kind of like a mushroom puree. Set that aside and we will caramelize some sugar.
In a clean pot, add in 1/2 cups of sugar along with 3 tbsp of water. Give it a gentle soft swirling so the water gets all the sugar that is at the edge of the pot. From now on, do not stir the sugar or else it doesn’t caramelize. Keep the heat on medium-low and wait for it to turn to a caramel color. In my case, the sugar starts becoming yellow in about 13 minutes. At this point, you really need to be careful. As soon as the center turns into a brown-red color, remove it from the stove. The rest of the heat from the pot will keep the process going for a bit longer.
Pour the mushroom puree into the pot. And start stirring it. The big chunk of caramel is a bit hard to dissolve. That is ok. Just be patient, keep the heat on medium low and they will combine together eventually.
Next, we are going to add some seasoning: 1.5-2 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of soy sauce for some distinctive taste, and 1.5 tsp of dark soy for extra brown color. The commercial oyster sauce has MSG on the ingredient list. You could add a little pinch for a flavor enhancer like what it says on the label. I didn’t add it because using mushroom is like using a nature healthy MSG and final product taste really good to me.
It already looks like oyster sauce now. Give that a taste to see if you need more sugar or salt. Mine does need a bit more salt.
When the flavor is good, add some cornstarch water to thicken the sauce. Keep stirring it on medium-low heat until it reaches the right consistency.
Save it in a clean container. This can stay good for 10 days at room temp, 30 days in the fridge, 4 months in the freezer.