Oyster sauce is a major when it comes to Asian cuisine. The problem comes in when making a meal that requires you to use the oyster sauce, and you don’t have one.
I know you will most likely have just forgotten to buy it. Notice that this sauce that they mostly make using the oysters will deliver the perfect umami flavors.
Understanding oyster sauce better
So the oyster sauce is one of the major ingredients we use when making different stir-fries. It features a sweet and salty choice of condiment that is usually thick and dark brown.
When talking of the flavor, then you have a blend of fishy and soy sauce flavors.
When making the sauce, there’s the cooking of the mollusks in the water, which will make the shellfish soup-like liquid. So the next thing to do is to strain the juices from the liquid and then cook it with salt and sugar, thus forming savory, sweet flavors.
Through this process then it gets dark and thus makes the perfect sauce for your stir-fries. Of course, there will be meals that only use the sauce for the stir-fries. One of the best things about the sauce is that it will deliver sweet and briny flavors.
You can use it for veggie dishes, stir-fries, soups, marinade, and many other meals. But, you see, there’s a great difference between when you use it and when you omit it. So when you find that you don’t have it in your pantry, you should substitute it with the following choices.
Notice that the flavors then mean you will enjoy it the most since it’s fully developed. Here’s the thing though it’s never so fishy, even though it features oysters when making it.
The oyster sauce is going to work as a broth booster too. Try it today, and you will notice how it thickens.
When looking for the oyster sauce, you should go for anything a little fish-like and then soy sauce-like. These sauces usually contain more starch and preservatives and caramel to make them last longer.
Look at it; you will notice it’s much thicker than soy sauce with a richer brown color. So, to some extent, you will feel, or it will look like it’s a blend of BBQ sauce and soy sauce as well. Also, it will deliver a kick of umami flavors to your meal.
Notice, though, that you may not get the same flavors of the oyster sauce. However, you are sure to get something close to the oyster, but we will find something much closer to it and show you the ones you can use.
Like many of you, I know we have the first thought of using the fish sauce. Even then, it’s not that the fish sauce is very similar to the oyster one.
Nonetheless, in some dishes, it will deliver the best flavors. Notice then that you can’t use fish sauce to substitute oysters when talking of all the meals.
But there are others you can work with fish sauce to substitute. Notice that they make this fish using the fermented style of fish. The difference then is that it’s a thinner consistency, and it further doesn’t have the dark caramel color.
Unlike the oyster sauce, it’s saltier, not sweet yet oyster sauce. If you’re making a flavorful meal, this will be the best option to use.
Here is another unique sauce they make from the anchovies, and similarly, they make the oyster sauce from oysters. So when you are looking for the oyster sauce because you want the umami flavors, then this is what you should use Worcestershire.
Now you will need to use it with a few alterations to make it more perfect. What most people do when reaching for the oyster sauce flavor is to add the soy sauce to the Worcestershire then with some sugar. That will make it tastier and even richer. Remember, though, to use just a little bit of the sauce.
Also, the question should be for what are you using the Worcestershire for. If you want to make it for the marination or stir-frying, you should add the soy sauce first. You will then need to add the sugar before you then add the Worcestershire.
In the end, you will have a burst of flavors without really overpowering the dish’s flavors. Just remember that you will have the perfect meal in no time. But, it will still taste as though it’s the ones you used the oyster sauce on too.
Here then, you will have the sauce that is originally from Japan. They make it more using the seafood, which is what makes it the better choice. They make it using soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, and it’s one of the best to compare with oyster sauce.
Like the oyster sauce, teriyaki sauce mostly works for your stir-fries and marinades and finishing sauce. However, you will enjoy it more since it has almost the same color and texture too. If you are looking for a substitute in the noodles dishes and other stir-fries.
The sauce is both sweet and savory, just the same way the oyster sauce is. It will make the different meal solutions you know. If you like, then you can also use its dipping sauce as well.
Here you have a thick and dark sauce that is the same consistency as the oyster sauce. You will find it commonly used in Cantonese cuisine.
You can use the hoisin sauce to glaze the meat, and you can also use it to stir fry. You can use it also as a dipping sauce which is the same method you use to make the
Notice, though, that it’s intensely flavorful but also sweet and tangy. It’s balanced but not as salty as the soy sauce, so it works perfectly to serve different types of food you have.
If you want to use it in place of the oyster sauce, then you should add some soy sauce to it. Then, when you use it, you will have a blend of sweet and salty, making it much closer to the oyster sauce again.
So when you’re going to make the oyster sauce, you should use half to half of hoisin and soy sauce.
This is the best choice to substitute for most of the enriching sauces, especially the oyster sauce. I’m sure you may be even having one that you could use already.
If you already have it, therefore then, you should go and use it as an oyster sauce. For most of those vegans and vegetarians, this will mostly work great since you don’t have to use oyster since it has animals in it.
Alternatively, you can go on and find the sweet soy sauce to use in place of the soy sauce, as it will deliver almost the same effect as the oyster sauce. Remember, the oyster sauce has a level of sweetness, but also saltiness is the perfect addition.
Sweet soy sauce
This is your Indonesian version of soy sauce, and of course, it will bring some of the richest flavors to you.
The addition of the sugar then makes it even better tasting and almost the same as the oyster sauce. Generally, it will have loads of salty and then umami flavors.
I know that it will always deliver a high level of sweetness, but of course, it’s a perfect option, with the only thing being that it does not have the mollusk.
Vegan mushroom sauce
A vegan will have no problem since you can substitute the regular oyster sauce with the mushroom sauce. So if you like the mushroom sauce, you are good to go because it works just as great as the regular oyster sauce.
You can even go to the regular store for it, and still, it will deliver the perfect flavors also the same. So if you want the umami, you will have it in this meal, you know.
Remember, you always need the dried mushrooms or the shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce, sugar, and even mushroom broth cubes to make the perfect sauce. But, it will work for your finished sauce, stir-fries, and many other meal combos.
Black bean paste
Here you have another one of the best vegan choices you can use. Just know that if you are using the beans that they let ferment, then it will work. Just make sure you allow it more and more time to ferment before you can finally use it.
You always want it to burst with flavor, so this paste is just everything.
It always assumes the same color and consistency as that of the bean paste. It just so happens that this is going to be what you need. Therefore, for this one, you will only need to substitute it at the ratio of 1:1.
Homemade oyster sauce
If you have a problem using these substitutes, you should make the sauce yourself like we mostly do at home. The best thing, though, is that you don’t have to use preservatives that will otherwise damage the sauce.
I know you most likely already have the oysters, so if you do, then this makes your work easier. Start by first draining the oysters and then set the liquid aside.
Now set the oysters in the food processor, then chop them and set them all aside in another saucepan.
Add the drained liquid you had at the start. Next, let it cook to the level it reduces, and make sure you allow it to cook slowly. For example, allow it to cook for 12 minutes.
Please remove it from the heat source and start adding the other ingredients. So then, you will add the salt and then allow it to cool again.
Next, sieve it to discard the remaining pieces. Measure it to know how many cups it is because we will need you to add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Set it to heat up, and then add a tablespoon of soy sauce at the very end. Simmer it for about 10 minutes and then get it off the heat and let it cool.
So basically, if you have the oyster sauce, you don’t have to use the substitutes to make the oyster sauce.
So which one appears to be the perfect substitute?
I would settle for the hoisin because it has the perfect color and consistency but also umami flavors. This sauce, though, doesn’t have oysters, so of course, it’s going to luck the umami flavors.
It contains soybeans with other additional flavors, and this makes it just as perfect. It’s one of the best and richest in flavor. I like its texture, though, which is why I like it as a substitute.
Is teriyaki sauce just as good?
Of course, teriyaki will make another great substitute. Again it has richer color and a thicker consistency, just like the oyster sauce does.
It’s much sweeter than the regular oyster sauce, and it will be lucking of the briny texture. If you lack another choice and for meals like the stirfries, consider using it but remember to add a few oysters to make it even richer.
Is oyster sauce the same as Worcestershire?
They aren’t the same, except they have the same flavors in most cases. One common thing about them is that they make both of them using seafood, so you are bound to have the umami flavors. They both work great when you’re using them for savory foods.
The other difference is that the oyster is thicker and with a subtle level of sweetness. The Worcestershire is going to be sweet, and also it will give you the fruit tang.
To substitute the oyster, you should add on the soy sauce with a little bit of sugar. With this then you can use it with the different foods, including the stir-fries.
Remember you won’t use all the substitutes we suggested in one place. You will need the different sauces for the different substitution meals. Just know, though, that if you cook right, the flavors will be perfect even with the substitute. My secret, though, is to make sure I never lack the sauce.