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The Wonders of Oyster Sauce

2013-04-09 17:31:27|Food

Oyster sauce actually happened by accident! Lee Kum Kee’s founder, Mr Lee Kum Sheung, overcooked a pot of oyster soup that boiled down to a thick sauce and that’s how oyster sauce was created, it’s a flavoursome savoury sauce traditionally made with extract of oysters, although you can also find vegetarian versions.   I’ve tried many varieties and one of my all time favourites is Lee Kum Kee’s Premium Oyster Sauce, it’s great in stir-fries and widely available, it’s also the secret of many Chinese chefs!   There are so many ways to use this delicious sauce, making it a useful store cupboard staple. This super tasty recipe, Oyster Sauce Chicken with Ginger and Shitake Mushrooms, uses oyster sauce and is one of my own flavour combinations, inspired by southern Chinese dishes from regions such as Canton (Guangdong province) and Fujian, where the combination of meat and seafood is very common. Enjoy!   Prep time: 10 minutes Cook in: 9 minutes Serves: 2 – 4 to share INGREDIENTS 500g/1lb 2oz skinless boneless free range or organic chicken thighs 1 tbsp groundnut oil 2.5cm (1 inch) piece of root ginger, peeled and sliced 1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry 5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce 2 large spring onions, sliced on the diagonal   FOR THE MARINADE : 3 pinches of ground white pepper 1 pinch of sea salt 2 tbsp oyster sauce, such as Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce 2 tsp sesame oil   FOR THE SAUCE MIX : 1 tbsp oyster sauce 3 tbsp cold water 1 tsp potato flour or cornflour   Spring onion curls for garnish Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and marinate with oyster sauce, sesame oil and white pepper for 30 minutes, or for best result, overnight. Heat a wok over a high heat until it starts to smoke and add the groundnut oil. Add the ginger and fry for a few seconds, then add the chicken pieces and stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the chicken pieces and stir-fry for four minutes, stirring constantly. As the chicken starts to turn opaque, add the rice wine or dry sherry and cook for a further two minutes, then add the sauce mix and bring to the boil. Tip in the shiitake mushrooms and cook for 1 minute, add in a teaspoon of dark soy sauce then stir in the spring onions. Remove from the heat and serve immediately. (Tips :  If using dried/dehydrated shitake mushrooms, soak in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain and slice before use.  Pour back the used water into the sauce mix instead of the cold water, as the flavour of mushrooms will add aroma to the dish.)


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