It’s hard to pronounce, tough to describe, and even harder to find without animal products. Worcestershire sauce is a flavor enhancer that instantly boosts a wide range of dishes, but is still largely misunderstood.
Making a splash on the culinary scene in the mid-1800’s, this mysterious fermented condiment was invented in Worcestershire, England and debuted by the Lea & Perrins company. Still the leading brand on the market, few worthy competitors have stepped up to the plate. This leaves a gaping hole in the grocery aisle, especially for vegans and those with food sensitivities. That’s because the original formula uses anchovies as the not-so-secret ingredient. While plant-based alternatives do exist, they can still be elusive in mainstream markets.
It’s time we take Worcestershire back. For that distinctive, addictive umami flavor, nothing compares to the power of dried Sugimoto shiitake powder. Despite its earthy origin, this potent food booster doesn’t taste like mushrooms, so you don’t need to worry about your sauce tasting off-key. Enhancing the natural flavors already present rather than adding its own distinctive essence, it’s like magical fairy dust that you really should be using in all of your favorite recipes.
The full power of that umami dynamo is unlocked over time, which makes it especially well-suited for this sauce. Aged and lightly fermented, the savory qualities become even more robust over the course of a few weeks. Though you could very happily enjoy this sauce after just a day or two, your patience will be rewarded in a world of rich umami later on.
How can you you use your homemade awesome sauce? Some of the most classic examples include:
- Caesar salad dressing
- Bloody Mary
- Stew or soup base
Commercial Worcestershire sauce tends to be much sweeter and more flat, whereas this homemade version is carefully balanced, tangy and tart, punchy and deeply nuanced. Once you give it a try, you’ll never want to go without it again. Luckily, it keeps almost indefinitely in the fridge, stored in an airtight glass bottle. Double or triple the recipe to stay stocked up at all times.
With the right pantry staples on hand, it’s easier, cheaper, and tastier to just do it yourself.
Homemade Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
This homemade Worcestershire Sauce is a way better the commercially prepared version, with a flavor that's well-rounded, not too sweet, and full of umami.
- 3 Shallots or Small Yellow Onions, Diced
- 1-Inch Fresh Ginger, Peeled and Minced
- 6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 2 Cups Malt Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar, Divided
- 3/4 Cup Date Molasses*
- 1/4 Cup Tamarind Paste
- 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 2 Teaspoons Sugimoto Dried Shiitake Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cardamom
- In a medium saucepan, combine the shallots or onions, ginger, garlic, and 1 cup of vinegar. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes until the aromatics are softened and translucent.
- Transfer the mixture to your blend along with all the remaining ingredients. Puree on high speed for about 2 minutes, making sure it's completely smooth. Pass through a fine mesh sieve if your blender isn't quite powerful enough to take out all the tiny pieces.
- Return the sauce to your saucepan and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. It should be slightly thickened and darkened. Let cool before pouring into glass bottles.
- Let the sauce stand, covered, at room temperature for at least a week to ferment. It will remain shelf-stable in the pantry for 1 - 2 months, or store it in the fridge to keep it for up to 6 months.
*If you can't find date molasses, you can use an equal amount of dark brown sugar, firmly packed, or 1/2 cup of standard molasses.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 64Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 95mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 1g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.
7 thoughts on “Best of the Worcestershire”
Fascinating! I’ve never thought about making my own! Love this post.
You’re amazing, Hannah.
Very interesting history! Looking forward to making my own, thanks!
Nice one, and such an interesting history
I’m late to the party, but hopefully someone still checks this blog. I am hunting for White Wine Worcestershire Sauce and wonder if anyone has ever used it. It’s quite delicious and was (is?) made by Lea & Perrins. I assumed when my bottle was empty I’d have no problem buying another; however, I’ve been all over the internet and found bupkus! I even went so far as to email L&P and received a reply from the UK that it was still in production and they’d have the US office contact me. Then I received a computer-generated reply from US with every imaginable product made by Heinz (now owner of L&P) but NO white wine worcestershire sauce! So I decided to vent to folks who enjoy WS as much as I do, and now that I have, I feel much better ;>) I think I’ll make the recipe you provided and work to forget my old favorite. Thanks for “listening!”
I’m sorry to hear your frustration and wish I could be of more help! This is the first I’ve ever heard of white wine Worcestershire sauce, unfortunately. It’s possible you could swap half of the vinegar for white wine, but I also don’t have the taste reference to know if it would come close to the original. If you try it, let me know!