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muichoi

Oyster Sauce

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Anyone have a recipe?I don't like the texture, colour or flavour of the commercial article.

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Do you mean a recipe on how to make oyster sauce, or how to make a dish with oyster sauce?


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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Thanks Tepee-I'm not entirely convinced that this has the ring of truth about it, though!

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Do you mean a recipe on how to make oyster sauce, or how to make a dish with oyster sauce?

How to make the stuff!

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Thanks Tepee-I'm not entirely convinced that this has the ring of truth about it, though!

On the other hand, for all we know, how sure can we be that commercial oyster sauce is made from real oysters or flavoring? At least that recipe has substantial oysters in it. :wink:


Edited by Tepee (log)

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True, but I'm sure the original is a thin greyish liquid, more akin to fish sauce than what we now buy.

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All references I can find seem to imply that it's a fairly recent addition to cantonese cookery made with Oyster extract! As for how the extract is made, have you tried a straight puree of raw oysters this would certainly end up a greyish liquid! Yet with out the salt of soya sauce I wouldn't expect it to keep for more than a day if that!

Though as it seems a recently new addition I'd expect soya sauce in it. Why dont you play with straight pureed oysters until you find what you like, though from what you're saying it won't be oyster sauce but your own special!

May I ask why you think the original is a greyish liquid, have you seen this? The books I've got seem to imply its got soya and as soya sauce production has been going on for years your saying its older!


Perfection cant be reached, but it can be strived for!

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I think I read this somewhere,but I don't remember the source. Anyone know the earliest reference?

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There are two types of Oyster Sauce available. One with oyster extractives and one without. The label will clearly say whether oyster extractives are used. I prefer one with oyster extractive and my favorite is a Japanese brand, 'Nouvelle Chinoise' , while expensive, it is clearly the best flavored and strongest I have used. -Dick

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There are two types of Oyster Sauce available. One with oyster extractives and one without. The label will clearly say whether oyster extractives are used. I prefer one with oyster extractive and my favorite is a Japanese brand, 'Nouvelle Chinoise' , while expensive, it is clearly the best flavored and strongest I have used. -Dick

Do you by chance have a picture of that Japanese brand one?

I am currently on the look out for a good one and am not quite up to making my own....

I really liked the Lee Kum Kee (I think) in the blue bottle that had the addition of dried scallops but I can't find it around me any more.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I really like the Thai one with the chubby lady stir frying on the front. It is less sweet then the LKK premium. But we have both in the cupboard depending on what we're cooking.

I always assumed the oyster extract in oyster sauce came from dried oysters, like the stuff I sometimes put in my steamed pork patties. I don't know why I've thought that, maybe because they're the same dark brown color.

regards,

trillium

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True, but I'm sure the original is a thin greyish liquid, more akin to fish sauce than what we now buy.

The real stuff IS a thin, greyish (actually, greyish-brown) liquid. I have a bottle of "real" oyster sauce that's made right by the pond where the oysters are harvested. Unfortunately, they only sell it where the oyster sauce is made - which means you have to take a long trip out there (it's in New Territories). There are no retail shops selling it.

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Thanks for digging that up hzrt, I found Eddie's post interesting.

First of all, Oyster Sauce IS made from Oysters. Basically fresh oysters are steamed open and their juice is collected. Most of the oysters are then smoked and sold as another product, while the juice is used as a base for Oyster Sauce. The juices are thickened with starch, colored with caramel, and flavored with salt and MSG. That's it.

Given that piece of information, I wonder about the feasibility of making oyster sauce at home.

I've never eaten steamed oysters, only raw ones, but I can't imagine that the liquid in steamed oysters would be all that strong in flavour. The juice would most likely need to be reduced.

How much liquid would be required to make a bottle of sauce, and how many oysters would you need to get that much juice? I can see how it can get expensive pretty quickly, especially so if you aim for high "oyster juice" content in your sauce.

And there's the problem with all the leftover oysters... What? Oyster omelette for dinner again? Oy veh!

Now if you're an oyster farmer with a surplus of oysters and no buyer...


Edited by Laksa (log)

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How much liquid would be required to make a bottle of sauce, and how many oysters would you need to get that much juice?  I can see how it can get expensive pretty quickly, especially so if you aim for high "oyster juice" content in your sauce.

And there's the problem with all the leftover oysters...  What?  Oyster omelette for dinner again?  Oy veh!

I don't know much about the process of making oyster sauce. I suspect that you don't need that many oysters to make a bottle of oyster sauce. Remember they only said "oyster flavored sauce", which is what it really is. Not entirely "juice from oysters", just a flavoring. I think part of the flavor comes from the oyster shells. Tastes heavy in calcium. A big portion of oyster flavored sauce is the coloring, MSG, starch and such.

And, as Ed said, the leftover oysters are smoked and dried and sold as another product. I suspect that's "ho see" (dried oysters).

BTW: If you "blend" the fresh oysters to make oyster sauce, I think the result will be bad. A whole oyster contains its guts and everything. When you eat it, it's okay. When you blend the oyster, the dark green color "stuff" will come out and dominate the visuals and the taste.

Laksa: try some steamed whole oysters with shells (drip of cooked oil and soy sauce) in Cantonese seafood restaurants. They taste really good. Also, oysters with ginger and scallions, oysters with salt and pepper, and, of course, oyster omlettes.


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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hzrt, my post was specifically about making oyster sauce at home, and what challenges one might face in an attempt to make a better product than what's available commercially. (Yeah, I know I wasn't very clear about that.)

I lack the know-how (or the necessary equipment) to smoke oysters so doing that is pretty much out of the question. Of course, a big corporation like Lee Kum Kee have the wherewithal to make the most of the raw oysters they buy, by turning out multiple products.

I enjoy toying with the idea though because I, unlike aprilmei, live very far from the New Territories and do wonder what the "real stuff" tastes like.

I will try steamed oysters next time I get a chance.

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Laksa:  try some steamed whole oysters with shells (drip of cooked oil and soy sauce) in Cantonese seafood restaurants.  They taste really good.   Also, oysters with ginger and scallions, oysters with salt and pepper, and, of course, oyster omlettes.

Laksa: I should say "steamed whole oysters with 'half' shells". If you do it at home, peel off the top shell on a whole oyster. Leave the oyster with the bottom shell then steam it. Unlike clams, oyster shells won't open up by itself when cooking.


Edited by hzrt8w (log)

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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Unlike clams, oyster shells won't open up by itself when cooking.

Oooh... oooh... they will, but not all the way. One of my very favorite ways to eat oysters (recently discovered at a block party) is to place the oysters in their shells on a hot BBQ grill, rounded side down, and cook them just until the shells begin to open. Finish prying open the shell, sprinkle with lemon juice and/or soy sauce, and enjoy! They're juicy and hot-yet-nearly-raw, and the best part is that you don't have to struggle opening the durn shells! :biggrin:


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Are oysters like mussels, in that, if they don't open at all when cooked, they were dead and are no good to eat?


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I also want to know what the 'real' oyster sauce tastes like.

And is it being used in different dishes than the commercial one?

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I admire the curiosity and ambition of people who want to duplicate favourite things like commercial sauces and condiments. Yes I have, in my time, tried to do the same. However, all such attempts were were abandoned after a few tries because the results were less than spectacular. For the simple reason that one develops a preference and gets used to one brand or another, one style or another, one taste or another. If I had never tasted the Lee Kum Kee premium brand (girl poling a dinghy with a little boy) I may have developed a taste for other styles and brands. To me, the BEST homemade stuff or any other brand is NOT oyster sauce :laugh: Same reasoning that HP Sauce and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce cannot or should not be duplicated. Why try to improve on perfection?? :raz:

As a cooking tip, where oyster sauce is called for as an integral flavouring part of the dish, you might try using a combo of mam nuoc, a dash of sugar and one shake of msg as replacement. I find that it gives close to the same taste as oyster sauce, but with a lighter finish.

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Yeah, me too.

To me, I always like to find different ways to (or to improve on) use different sauces (just the means) to cook different dishes (that's the end results). I have not spent any energy to try to make the raw ingredients or sauces myself. As that would take too much effort (cooking dinner everyday is exhaustive enough as it is...).

Imagine that you would need to make your own:

soy sauce

tofu

soy milk

foo yu

rice wine

vinegar

bean sauce

(etc..)

Dry your own oysters, dry your own shrimps, scallops. Grow your own mushrooms? Make your own cheese? Brew your own wine? ...


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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Yeah, me too.

To me, I always like to find different ways to (or to improve on) use different sauces (just the means) to cook different dishes (that's the end results).  I have not spent any energy to try to make the raw ingredients or sauces myself.  As that would take too much effort (cooking dinner everyday is exhaustive enough as it is...).

Imagine that you would need to make your own:

soy sauce

tofu

soy milk

foo yu

rice wine

vinegar

bean sauce

(etc..)

Dry your own oysters, dry your own shrimps, scallops.  Grow your own mushrooms?  Make your own cheese?  Brew your own wine? ...

Come to Hong Kong and fill your luggage! (although you could probably only bring back bottled stuff). You can find a lot of this stuff here. In the States, it would be considered "artisinal" and it would cost much more. The stuff can be a little more expensive than what you get at supermarkets but it's not unreasonable and besides, I'd rather give the smaller producers my business. Lee Kum Kee does not need my money.

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Come to Hong Kong and fill your luggage! (although you could probably only bring back bottled stuff). You can find a lot of this stuff here. In the States, it would be considered "artisinal" and it would cost much more.

Fortunately for me, I live in Sacramento where many Asian grocery markets are only 3 miles away. If I run out of something, I can walk to a nearby mom-and-pop store to get some within 5 minutes.

When I come back to HK for a visit, I would like to load up on dried conpoy, dried squid, ham yu, ... and most importantly... snacks! Olives and plums! Those are available in SF but the quality is so-so and the prices are $$$.

And... of course, load up my stomach while I am over there. :laugh:


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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