Imagine you’re having a party, or maybe a quick stir-fry. The first thing that comes to our mind is oyster sauce.
You can call us boring or predictable. Still, nothing suffices oyster sauce. The perfect balance of sweet and salt. The medium texture and the savory taste.
So, what is oyster sauce?
As the name goes by, oysters are used to make the oyster sauce. Firstly, oysters are cooked in water for a long time. Then this water forms juice.
Most of the companies mix this caramelized juice with salt and. Some even use corn starch. Guys, this is how they make your favorite oyster sauce.
There are times when you are out of it. You have to cook your favorite Asian cuisine. You open up the kitchen shelf and find out the bottle is empty. As you know, making the oyster sauce is a lengthy process.
So you might be thinking, what can I substitute for oyster sauce? Do not panic; we have some substitutes for you.
Substitutes for the oyster sauce:
1. Soy Sauce
For me, soy sauce is the best option. It is a bit saltier. And the texture is not as thick as the oyster sauce.
However, it has the same color. Being salty, it adds flavors too. With a bit of tinkering, you can make the best of it. If you think it is too salty or you want that sweet and salty taste. You can add a bit of sugar, honey, or some drops of Worcestershire sauce.
It also makes the texture thicker. You can also mix Hoisin sauce with soy sauce. In that case, avoid sugar.
2. Fish sauce:
Dried or raw fishes are used to make fish sauce. These are then fermented in a wooden box. The pressure creates fishy liquids.
Many of us use fish sauce along with the oyster sauce. Some recipes require fish only. I have used it as a substitute many times and got pretty good results. Its consistency is similar to the oyster sauce.
However, it differs in flavor and color. It has a sharp flavor and savory taste. So, its better to start small. If you want to mask the smell, add it up with something thick and sweet. Hoisin sauce will do the trick.
3. Mushroom Sauce
It is also called the vegan oyster sauce. Many claim it to be the best substitute for oyster sauce. It has a rich flavor and that savory taste that resembles the oyster sauce. It can also be made it home in these easy steps
- Firstly prepare some dried shitake mushrooms
- Add garlic cloves, ginger and sesame oil
- Next, add some vegetable oil or olive oil
- After that, start cooking the mushroom
- Then start making it to a paste
- Finally, add in some flavors according to your choice
If you’re a vegan, this sauce can be your best bet
Vinegar is a healthy alternative to oysters. It is good for heart and diabetes. You just have to add it with some sort of oil. As we are trying to stay healthy, sesame or olive oil are good options. You can use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. You can also pair it with soy sauce.
5. Cheese and nut butter
I know that cheese and nut butter doesn’t taste like oyster sauce. But if you have no other options and need to add a quick flavor, these are good choices. Experiment it carefully as these are much thicker than oyster sauce. I would recommend trying these
- Almond butter
- Ranch dressing
You can also add a bit of soy sauce or vinegar along with these.
Learn more in our full guide to 9 Best Tarragon substitute
6. Mariana Sauce
For a quick stir-fry, it can be a good option too. Its made from tomatoes. You may have used it on spaghetti and pasta. Try to use Mariana sauce made from healthy oils like olive oil.
If you are on a diet and just want to enhance the flavors. Spices are a good option. Garlic, ginger, saffron, sea salt, black pepper, and basil leaves are good alternatives. Still, it depends on your choice. A bit of lemon juice can be used for a tangy and fresh flavor.
8. Hoisin sauce
It is popular in barbecue dishes like stir-fries. The main compound here is soybean paste and herbs. It has some added sugars too. If you’re not on a diet, it can be a good substitute. However, as all other oyster sauce substitutes use it in small quantities.
9. Worchester sauce
Worchester sauce has a potent flavor and good consistency. It’s better to use it in addition to soy sauce or tamari. You can also pair it up with fish sauce. This combination makes an awesome substitute for oyster sauce.
10. Sweet soy sauce
Sweet soy sauce (kecap menis) is also a good substitute. It is an Indonesian ingredient. Although it is much sweeter than the oyster sauce, it works like a charm. You can pair it with hoisin sauce and lemon.
Homemade Oyster Sauce
If you want your oyster sauce to be of the best quality or you have enough time, you can easily make it at home. It can be a bit costly, though. The cost depends on the price of oysters. Let’s talk about the steps now
- Firstly take some shucked oysters and separate the liquid
- Then cut the drained oysters into small pieces
- Next mix the minced cut oysters pieces, reserved liquid, a bit of water and some herbs of your choice
- After that, put them in a saucepan and boil then simmer it for 15 to 20 minutes
- Take the saucepan out from the stove and sieve it
- Moreover, add a bit of salt and sugar and let it cool down
- Afterward, add two teaspoons of dark soy sauce for every pound of oysters and simmer again for 20 minutes
- Finally, let it cool down, and your oyster sauce is ready
In Asian cuisine and stir-fry, oyster sauce is a must. Without it, nothing your dish can become dull. Maybe you’re on a diet. You are on a vegan meal. Or you’re running out of the oyster sauce. Whatever the reason, you can try these. I hope the substitutes will work out well.
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