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Stir-fried shrimp and kangkong in oyster sauce topped with chilies

How to Use Oyster Sauce in Filipino Cooking

Oyster sauce is a classic Chinese condiment made from simmered oysters or oyster extract, salt, sugar, and starches. It’s thick and dark brown just like hoisin and kecap manis. The taste is a bit more complex – the profile combines sea salt, caramel, earthy umami, and slight fishiness.

You’ll find bottles, cans, or sachets of it in groceries and sari-sari stores. Except, some Pinoys still skip it because of unfamiliarity and intimidation. Unlike Thai, Malay, and Vietnamese cooks who use it in many dishes, Filipinos remain confused about its intended use. Do you add it to stir-fries? Can you mix it with other ingredients like toyo, suka, and Knorr Liquid Seasoning? Do you use it as a dip like ketchup or barbecue sauce?

Yes, yes, and yes. You’ll be surprised by how versatile this ingredient is. And you only need a couple of tablespoons per recipe to reap its benefits. Isn’t that enough reason to make it a pantry mainstay? If you need more prodding, this article reveals the numerous ways it can help in everyday cooking. Start taking notes, and include a bottle in your next grocery list.

How to Cook With Oyster Sauce

A pan of stir-fried shrimp with oyster sauce and kangkong

This sauce is a salty-sweet flavor bomb. Remember: a small quantity goes a long way. Start with a dollop or two before adding more and adjusting to your preferences. Here are some ways to make the most of the sauce at home.

Use it in all types of stir-fries.

Do you want to give your stir-fry a savory glaze like how restaurants make theirs? Because of the sauce’s sugar content, adding a spoonful in the last few seconds of cooking achieves that gloss. Try it next time you prepare chicken in oyster sauce or a hearty noodle dish.

Add it to marinades.

Because of its natural umami, the sauce can enhance the flavors of beef, pork, chicken, or tofu. Mix some into your next barbecue or roasted meat marinade. You can even combine it with crushed Knorr Beef Cubes for another layer of linamnam.

Try it as a dipping sauce.

Mix oyster sauce, rice wine, honey, sesame oil, ginger, and chilies to make a dipping sauce that can go with any roast, barbecue, or grilled dish! Got leftovers? Use it to season your next fried rice. Or, make a quick shrimp with oyster sauce out of it.

Add some to your homemade soups.

Upgrade soups or stews with a touch of oyster sauce as seasoning. The deep, savory, caramel-like flavors will make any dish extra comforting.

Easy Recipes Using Oyster Sauce

Try these oyster sauce-based recipes next time you need to whip up a quick, fuss-free weekday meal.

Kangkong at tokwa in oyster sauce

A plate of kangkong and tofu with oyster sauce surrounded with raw ingredients

Got picky eaters at the table? They might enjoy the sweetish notes of this stir-fry's sauce even if its main components are veggies. Level up a simple ulam of kangkong and tofu with oyster sauce.

Ginisang talong in oyster sauce

A plate of ginisang talong in oyster sauce surrounded with raw ingredients

Make talong more exciting with an easy glaze made of oyster sauce, Knorr Pork Cube, water, onion, and garlic. You need less than 30 minutes to get this ulam from stove to table.

Kung pao chicken

A plate of kung pao chicken with bell peppers, zucchini, and chilies

Kung pao chicken is a classic meat stir-fry you can put together in minutes. Its sweet-spicy sauce calls for extra servings of white rice!

How to Store the Sauce

An unopened bottle can sit in your pantry or stock room at room temperature for months or until its indicated expiration date. Once opened, store it in the refrigerator.

Knowing how to maximize ingredients in your pantry makes cooking fun and effortless. Don’t miss out on the many benefits you can get from oyster sauce. Grab a bottle and start cooking!

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