Whether or not you’ve cooked with it, you’ve probably had oyster sauce. It’s a key ingredient in Cantonese food, used for velveting proteins and vegetables. Most oyster sauce I’d encountered before was pretty basic — think that savory, satisfying brown sauce in Chinese takeout. Yangjiang had that salty, satisfying flavor, but was unexpectedly vivid. It was dark and syrupy, with an intensely umami, sweet and not-too-salty triple whammy of flavor. I started by using it to finish simple stir-fries (my favorite means of using up spring veggies), tossing it with wok-seared snow peas, baby bok choy, or asparagus just before serving.
Oyster sauce is, as the name suggests, made of oysters, which are cooked in water for 30 minutes to make a sort of oyster broth. It's strained, then cooked down and seasoned with salt and sugar until the oyster juices caramelize, reducing to a thick syrup. Chinese culinary expert Grace Young, another fan, associates the rich, satisfying flavor of oyster sauce with her favorite Cantonese foods from her childhood.
How to use oyster sauce
Dip: Stir together oyster sauce, a pinch of sugar, a splash of soy sauce, and a splash of sesame oil; dunk raw vegetables or Vietnamese rice paper rolls.
Drizzle: Top 1 pound steamed broccoli with 2 tablespoons oyster sauce.
Deglaze: Sauté 1 pound green beans or asparagus and two sliced garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until crisp-tender; deglaze pan with a mixture of 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1/4 cup oyster sauce, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Simmer until glossy; serve hot.
Post time: Oct-26-2023