Worcestershire sauce

Worcestershire sauce
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ingredients for Worcestershire sauce
A trip to an ethnic market is in order.

We know what you’ve been thinking. You were wondering when we’d get around to posting a recipe for Worcestershire sauce, right? No? Uh, we can’t believe that you wouldn’t want to try your hand at making Worcestershire sauce. It’s fun to say, since it’s pronounced much differently from the way it’s spelled, so it has to be fun to make, right? Right? Well, even if you don’t scratch up a batch of Worcestershire sauce today, maybe one day you will, and this recipe will be right here for you.

We’d run out of Worcestershire sauce about a month ago — it seems to last forever, as we generally only use it in Caesar Salads — so we started looking around for recipes to try making our own. Back in the dusty files we found this one, which comes from Mark Bittman’s book, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. We liked it because, of all the recipes we looked at, it seemed the easiest. And it was; the hardest part was finding some of the ingredients.

Worcestershire sauce

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Worcestershire sauce


  • 2-3 small dried shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 Tbs (30 g) brown sugar
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste (or apricot preserves)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups (350 g) Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 Tbs (15 g) molasses
  • 1 Tbs (15 g) soy sauce

Abbreviated Instructions

In a medium saucepan, combine shiitake mushrooms, sugar, tamarind paste, peppercorns, cloves, red pepper flake, and vinegar. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, remove from heat and stir in soy sauce and molasses. Let steep until cool, 30 minutes.

Strain into a container.


Ingredient discussion:

If you look through the list of ingredients and there are items you don’t recognize, you’re not alone, and you’ll probably need to take a trip to an ethnic market. Just to help you out, we include photos of the Chinese black vinegar and tamarind paste that we were able to find. At first we were happy to find the tamarind paste, thinking it would be like the sweet condiment served in Indian restaurants, which we like, but it’s not. Instead, it’s quite astringent, so we’re not sure how we’ll end up using it. Any ideas? Now, the original recipe actually called for a similar amount of dulce or kombu (seaweeds), instead of shiitakes, but, we figure they were there for adding lots of umami, with which shiitakes are loaded.

Procedure in detail:


making Wocestershire sauce
Once the vinegar is in the mix, you won’t see the medley of ingredients.

Mix and boil. Place the mushrooms, brown sugar, tamarind, peppercorns, cloves, red pepper, and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir several times, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

Add molasses and soy sauce. We listed the weight of the molasses since it might be easiest to add it by weight. Just pour it in slowly and stop when you have 15 grams. No messy measuring spoon. While the mixture is still very hot, add the molasses and soy sauce and stir to combine.

making Worcestershire sauce
Apparently Chinese black vinegar is really black.

Cool. Let the mixture steep and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

straining Wocestershire sauce
Set up some system for straining and bottling.

Bottle. Somehow, you’re going to have to strain the liquid and get it into a bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid. We used a small tea strainer that fit within a small funnel that fit in the neck of a clean bottle — one that originally held Worcester sauce and had the appropriate pour spout. Obviously, we were thinking ahead.

Super easy, wouldn’t you agree? Now, we haven’t tried it yet — we only use Worcestershire sauce for Caesar salad and we don’t have romaine lettuce on hand. But, not to worry; we’ll give it a rating when we do.

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