Oyster sauce is an ingredient that adds umami deliciousness to a dish. This sauce is popularly used in Thai and Chinese dishes as it adds a sweet and salty undertone when cooking. It is like a sweet version of soy sauce and has a dark brown appearance to it. This sauce is made by condensing oyster broth until it is reduced and becomes viscous in appearance.
If you cannot find oyster sauce in your pantry, you can try an oyster sauce substitute to infuse an appetizing flavor to your dish.
Soy sauce is one of the most popular oyster sauce substitutes when cooking. It has the same flavor profile and color as oyster sauce, which explains why it is used as an alternative. You can opt to add half a teaspoon of sugar to the dish to add that hint of sweetness that oyster sauce adds to a dish (or you can get the sweet soy sauce variety). If you prefer Worcestershire sauce, then that is a good option, too, if you do not like soy sauce.
Another commercial Chinese sauce that is a good substitute for the oyster sauce is hoisin sauce. Just like oyster sauce, it has a sweet and salty taste to it. You can use the same quantity of hoisin sauce in a dish as is required with an oyster sauce.
The third option for oyster sauce substitute is the fish sauce – another staple in Asian (especially Chinese) cooking. Using fish sauce as a replacement for oyster sauce might be suitable for some (not all) dishes only. It has an intense salty flavor and does not have as much depth of flavor as the oyster sauce does. Plus, it is not as thick as an oyster sauce.
Soy and Hoisin Sauce
Another trick that you can try if you want to recreate the flavor of oyster sauce is to combine soy and hoisin sauce in a dish. Use a 1:1 ratio when incorporating these ingredients into a dish to provide the depth of flavor that oyster sauce adds to a dish.