WHAT IS OYSTER SAUCE?
Oyster sauce is a very common Asian condiment and can usually be found in every Asian household. 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.
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
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’ flavor.
WHERE DO I FIND IT?
This is a very common condiment and 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.
Oyster sauce is quite salty, with a touch of sweetness. It has natural umami flavors from the oyster extract (and MSG) and a slight seafood flavor. The seafood flavor is not fishy, but more like an oyster flavor.
Oyster sauce has a thick viscosity and are usually great in marinades because it ‘sticks’ to the surface area of foods better.
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.
Oyster sauce can also be bought in a big can (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.
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