I’m one person who really enjoys eating out. Luckily, I never miss a dinner date on one of the days of the week. Recently, I was out for a date in one of the 5-star hotels in the country. He called our date a sushi date. Everything in the hotel was perfect.
The food was out of the ordinary delicious and when it came to the sushi there was something unique about it. It tasted heavenly and the aroma made it irresistible.
So, I asked the chef his secret and don’t take my words for it, here is what he had to say. “I use the right amount of oyster sauce as my secret ingredient”.
- Net Wt. 18 oz.
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WHAT IS OYSTER SAUCE?
It’s a condiment that is made of a thick, dark brown liquid that has a sweet, salty and earthy flavor. It’s commonly used in Chinese cooking. The sauce is full of umami flavors which makes it your best choice for the stir-fries.
Want to know more about Chinese sauces? Check out my ultimate guide here.
You make this sauce by slowly simmering oysters in water until the juice becomes a caramel of thick brown intensely flavored sauce. This was the traditional method of making the oyster sauce.
In our modern-day, people have created shortcuts for making the oyster sauce with a similar flavor while using lesser time and money. The process first includes making the base of sugar and salt with a cornstarch thickening agent. You then add the oyster extracts to the base to give it full flavor.
Furthermore, you can add soy sauce and MSG to deepen the flavor. There is also a vegetarian version of the oyster sauce.
It’s made using the mushroom instead of oysters. The mushroom provides the deep earthy flavor which is similar to the real oyster.
Note that, despite the fact that the sauce is made using oysters, the sauce doesn’t have the fishy scent like that of fish sauce. Additionally, it isn’t as salty as expected of it.
THE SAUCE THAT WAS MADE BY ACCIDENT
History indicates that Lee Kum Kee who is the founder of Lee Kum Kee made the first oyster sauce by accident. He used to love cooking oysters for his guests, but, one day he placed the oysters on the heat source then forgot to turn off the stove as he was cooking. This was because he was engaged in other activities.
Suddenly, he smelled a strong fragrance coming from his kitchen and was afraid that he had overcooked the oysters so he rushed to the kitchen. To his utter amazement, he found a layer of thick brown paste on his wok which tasted so right. It’s this that saw the rise of oyster sauce.
While the sauce was earlier on strictly used among the Cantonese homesteads and cuisines, today the sauce is well spread all over the globe. Be it the Shandong cuisine, Sichuan cuisine or Zhejiang cuisine the sauce works well to enhance the flavor, enrich the color and bring the authentic nature of the meal.
This sauce is best known for bringing the umami flavors as well as an addition of flavor to your bland ingredients.
THE CULINARY USES
This is the sauce that adds flavor to most of your dishes which means that it is your best choice for the flavoring of meat and vegetables. The sauce is normally used when making:
These are just a few recipes that use oysters as part of the ingredients to prepare the meals there are many more recipes. Being a Cantonese favorite sauce, it’s used for salad dressing, stir-frying, noodles soups and stews.
Moreover, it’s rich flavor goes well with other ingredients, especially tofu, mushroom, seafood, beans meat and poultry.
Points to remember
- If you cook the oyster sauce for long, it will lose its umami flavor. Therefore, add the sauce at the end of braising the meat or cooking soup.
- Avoid using high heat as this will equally make the oyster sauce lose its umami flavors. In fact, it turns bitter.
- The sauce is good for removing the awful smell from your meat and fish. Consider using the sauce for marination.
- The sauce is naturally salty so reduce the amount of salt you add to your food or completely do away with it.
Oyster Sauce Substitute
There are days when you go to your Asian market or online shop and can’t seem to find the oyster sauce. Or you may be at home and need to use the sauce urgently but you realize that you don’t have it.
- If you have soy sauce and hoisin sauce, you can mix them at a ratio of 1:1 to get the oyster sauce flavor.
- The other option is using mushroom sauce or better known as the mushroom flavored sauce. You can also use the vegetarian version of oyster sauce that is made using mushroom instead of oysters.
- Try using bean sauce too since it has the same consistency and color.
- If you are still not sure about your substitute, use soy sauce as a substitute. This will work because of its color, intensity and flavor. To further enhance the taste, add a few drops of Worchester sauce to the soy sauce or better yet add some sugar.
- Use your fish sauce too because it will be very close in flavor to the oyster sauce. However, I make this my last option because the fish sauce is different in consistency.
WHAT IS THE TASTE DESCRIPTION?
The sauce will give you a mixture of sweet and salty taste but with an additional earthy feel in your mouth. All this is determined by the quality of oyster you use. A low-quality oyster will give you low quality flavors and the vice versa is true.
WHERE TO BUY OYSTER SAUCE
The sauce will be found in large supermarkets and groceries. If you go to any Asian market, you are sure to see a large section of oyster sauces selections, varieties and brands to choose from. Furthermore, your online shop like Amazon has a variety to choose from.
The storage of the sauce will determine its lifespan. Once you open the container keep it refrigerated in an airtight can. As this will ensure it serves you for anything between 3 to 6 months.
THE 10 TYPES OF Best OYSTER SAUCES TO BUY
1. Lee Kum Kee Panda Brand Oyster Sauce
This product is made using the best quality of oyster extracts that are carefully selected. It’s the Chinese chefs’ best choice that is the secret behind the amazing Chinese delicacies. You may use it for your all-purpose seasoning because you are sure to lift the umami flavors of the meat or veggies.
Use this sauce for marination, stir-fries and as a condiment to your meals. If you are familiar with broccoli beef and stir-fried noodles among other delicacies, this is the secret behind the outstanding taste. This excellent brand also enhances the appearance of the dish.
2. Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce
The Lee Kum Kee brand is best known for producing the Asian sauces. When it comes to oyster sauce, this brand will give you the no.1 product. The inventor of the oyster sauce was Lee Kum Kee so we believe that over the years, the secrets regarding this sauce have been developed.
The sauce is made using the original oyster extracts and wheat among other ingredients. The processing also employs the secret recipe. This is a sauce you don’t want to miss whenever you are making your omelettes, different kinds of meat dishes and the all-purpose seasoning.
The major purpose of the sauce is to enhance the flavor and the dish appearance.
3. Thai Oyster Sauce Maekrua Brand
Use this bottle for your all-purpose seasoning. When you are looking for a true premium product, this is it. The manufacturer has years of experience in producing the Asian best sauces and specifically oyster sauce.
The maekrua products are at the gold standard level when it comes to taste and quality. With the use of oyster extracts, soybeans, corn starch, wheat flour and sodium benzoate, the manufacturers produce this brand for your stir-fry dishes.
It is amongst the best sauces from Thailand that will add that charming accent to your meal.
4. Kikkoman Sauce Oyster Green
Once again announcing the best brand to buy for your oyster sauce. The oyster sauce is made from the natural liquor that’s extracted from oysters. It needs no MSG to boost its flavors. This versatile sauce will give you the authentic meal that you so desire with rich umami flavors.
The thick sauce has no harsh fishy flavors that are sometimes in other brands. Since it’s a Kikkoman product, you must know that the product is perfectly balanced to bring out the taste of your Asian dishes.
With this sauce, all you need is your creativity to come up with great Asian and non-Asian marinades, stir-fries, glazes, noodles and even perfect finishes.
5. Dragonfly Premium Oyster Sauce
This flavor is surely most chefs’ favorite choice. The sauce is a real super brand that has no additives like MSG. Furthermore, the amount of salt used in the product is way less compared to other products but its oyster flavor is enhanced.
This sauce is easy to squeeze from the bottle and is from a trusted brand. Since it adds the savory flavor to many dishes it’s best suited for your meats and veggies. The sauce is your staple choice in most Chinese cooking. It can act as a topping for most of your dishes.
6. Dynasty Sauce Oyster Pack
Here is your phenomenal oyster sauce. It is made using oriental imported foods which include the oyster extracts, sugar, salt and water. The sauce also uses the protein extracts. If you love fish then this will be your best sauce to enhance the fish flavors.
The product is manufactured in a facility using crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, celery, mustard and sesame seeds.
7. Wok Mei Gluten Free Sauces 3-Flavor Variety
This product is a whole package that will reduce your going back to the shops for another product. As you can see, it contains a can of hoisin, oyster and plum. I like the fact that the products are gluten free, fat-free, MSG free, modified starch free, preservatives free and refined sugar-free.
In short, you get to use a product that is processed from natural authentic products. The product is made in the USA with the aim of using it to prepare the Asian cuisines. The oyster sauce is full of flavors which will enhance your dishes color and tastes.
Furthermore, if your health requires that you don’t use gluten, go for this product.
8. Asamurasaki oyster soy sauce 600ml
Here is your other complimentary oyster sauce. It is made using oyster extracts, sugar, mirin and salt. You may use this delicious sauce over various meals like tofu and boiled tofu, fried rice, soups among others.
I can rate it as one of the best oyster sauces in the market. It’s made naturally using the honjozo soy sauce then given an additional umami flavor with oyster extracts.
9. Wan Ja Shan Vegetarian Mushroom Oyster Sauce
This product is made using oyster mushroom or shitake mushroom. The vegetarian sauce utilizes mushroom to maintain the same umami flavors that oyster sauce has. The product uses fresh soybeans, wheat salt, mushroom flavor and sodium benzoate.
The sauce enhances the taste and aroma of tofu as well as veggies. It’s best used for stir-frying, dipping and grilling.
10. Vegetarian Mushroom Oyster Sauce
This sauce is made using the mushroom essence extracts. You may use it to enhance the flavor of your stir-fry dishes, dipping and grills. It further makes your dish tasty. The savory sauce is thick and rich in flavor as well as color.
If you are a vegetarian you must love this product because it will enrich all your dishes but even if you are not a vegetarian and need something different, go for this sauce.
As you can see, the benefits of using the oyster sauce in your dish abound. It’s also readily available in the Asian markets near you. You can also choose from the variety on Amazon.