Is oyster sauce halal, or do you have to stay far away from it if you’re following halal diet? Oyster sauce is a popular condiment used in many Asian cuisine, but the question of whether it is halal or not has been a source of confusion for many.
In this blog post, we will explore the ingredients of oyster sauce, and examine whether it is compliant with halal dietary laws. So, whether you’re a halal food enthusiast or just curious about oyster sauce, keep reading to find out more!
Is Oyster Sauce Halal?
Yes, oyster sauce is halal. Most oyster sauces are suitable for halal eaters as they’re made from a mixture of caramelized oyster juices (obtained by cooking oysters over a prolonged period of time), salt, sugar.
Oyster is Halal in Islam. As per Sunni school of thought, all the creatures which resembles the shape of fish are regarded as Halal. As per Hanafi, all the crustaceans including crawfish, crap, clam are regarded as Haram.
The vast majority of Islamic scholars consider all types of shellfish to be halal. So prawns, shrimp, lobsters, crabs, and oysters are all halal seafood in Islam.
What is Oyster Sauce made of?
In comparison to the traditional and apparently cost-prohibitive process of caramelizing oyster broth, most mass-produced manufacturers use the oyster extract in combination with a large amount of sugar and cornstarch.
In any case, this is how the sauce is traditionally made. Nowadays, a variety of alternate routes are used to achieve the desired rich taste at a lower cost.
Other ingredients, such as MSG and soy sauce, can be added to enhance the flavor and darken the color.
Other ingredients include water, along with sugar, salt, and cornstarch (for thickening). High-quality, all-natural oyster sauce is naturally dark brown, but the lower quality stuff often requires the use of caramel color (a natural food coloring agent) to achieve the desired color.
Monosodium glutamate is an ingredient that is commonly used to make sauces, including oyster sauce, and while it’s not regarded as a healthy ingredient, it is suitable for halal eaters.
MSG contains no animal products, and no animal derivatives are used in its production, and because it’s one of the best halal sources of umami, it’s often used in sauces.
It occurs naturally in several foods like tomatoes and cheeses, but most MSG today is produced through the fermentation of starch, sugar beets, sugar cane, or molasses, so it’s plant-based.
Caramel color, fortunately, is typically suitable for halal eaters as it’s usually derived from corn syrup, and occasionally from potatoes, wheat, or other plant-based carbohydrate sources.
How is Oyster Sauce Made?
Traditional oyster sauce is made by simmering oysters in water until their juices caramelise into a thick, brown, and umami-flavored sauce.
Some companies, however, have taken shortcuts in order to produce oyster sauce more quickly.
Many brands, for example, make oyster sauces with a base of sugar, salt, and thickened cornflour, then add oyster extracts or essences to flavour the base sauce.
They may also use soy sauce or MSG to add flavour and colour to the finished product.
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For most oyster sauce die-hard fans, the real oyster sauce is made using the traditional method, which involves condensing oyster extracts, which is the broth you get from simmering oysters in water.
The broth is reduced until the desired viscosity is achieved, and the liquid has caramelized to a brown color.
It doesn’t contain additives, not even sauce, as the flavor is fully provided by the oysters, which means it’s also healthier than oyster sauces obtained through fast methods.
As you can see, none of the ingredients in oyster sauce are derived from animals or animal by-products, this indicates that it is safe to consume.
Shaykh Muhammad al-‘Uthaymeen said: the basic principle concerning all foods and drinks is that they are permissible unless there is evidence to show that they are forbidden, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“He it is Who created for you all that is on earth. Then He rose over (Istawa) towards the heaven and made them seven heavens and He is the All-Knower of everything”Surah al-Baqarah 29
And because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “What I keep quiet about is permissible”.
If we do not know that this thing is haraam, either from a clear statement [in the Qur’aan or Sunnah] to that effect or because it comes under a general shar’i prohibition, or by proper analogy that dictates that it is haraam, then it is halaal.
This is the basic principle concerning food, drink, clothing and customs.
Is Oyster Sauce Halal Hanafi?
No, oyster sauce is not permissible according to the Hanafi mazhab, as it contains extracts of oyster.