WHAT IS OYSTER SAUCE?
Oyster sauce is a very common Asian condiment and can usually be found in every Asian household. It is a thick, dark brown sauce made with oyster extract and has a salty-sweet briny flavor. It is a great flavor enhancer and used in place of salt in cooking and in marinades.
HOW IS IT USED?
Oyster sauce is most commonly used to give marinades and sauces a bit of umami flavor and to provide some salt. It can also be used as a dipping sauce for Chinese vegetables and meats as well but is usually used sparingly as it is very salty.
There is also a vegetarian version of oyster sauce made of mushrooms for anyone looking for a vegetarian alternative.
OYSTER SAUCE SUBSTITUTIONS
I personally found that there is no true substitute for this condiment. You can use soy sauce in its place but you will lose some of the ‘oyster/seafood’ briny flavor.
WHERE CAN I FIND OYSTER SAUCE?
This is a very common condiment that can be found at every Asian grocery store. I have also seen these at my local grocery store in the International aisle as well. If you have a hard time finding it locally, you can find this online as well.
WHAT DOES OYSTER SAUCE TASTES LIKE?
Oyster sauce is quite salty, with a touch of sweetness. It has natural umami flavors from the oyster extract (and MSG) with a slight seafood briny flavor. The seafood flavor is not fishy, but more like an oyster flavor.
Oyster sauce has a thick viscosity and is great in marinades, especially meats because it sticks to the surface area of the foods better during marination.
HOW DO I STORE OYSTER SAUCE?
Once the bottle of oyster sauce has been opened, it should be kept in the fridge. Personally, I have kept it longer than the expiry date. The high salt content keeps it preserved very well.
It can also be bought in a large can, if you want to buy it in bulk (although it is more convenient to buy it in a bottle). If you buy it in from a can, transfer it out of the can as soon as it is opened to either a glass or plastic container and store it in the fridge.
RECIPES THAT USE OYSTER SAUCE
- Sweet and Sticky Chinese BBQ Pork (Char Siu)
- Grilled Chicken Skewers
- Chinese BBQ Pork (Char Siu) Dumplings
- Crispy Cantonese Beef Chow Mein
- Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Snow Peas
- Garlic Noodles
- Thai Basil Turkey Fried Rice
- Roasted Okra Recipe
- Chinese Stuffed Peppers (Dim Sum Style)
- Wonton Noodle Soup
- Bitter Melon Recipe with Black Bean Sauce
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