Oyster Sauce Is The Briny Ingredient That Will Liven Up Your Beef Stew

oyster sauce based beef stew
oyster sauce based beef stew - Haoliang/Getty Images

Oyster sauce, an umami-laden staple in Asian cuisine, is the secret ingredient that will liven up almost any dish it touches. Common ingredients for the sauce include water, sugar, salt, oyster extract, and wheat flour. With a briny, rich, savory, and complex flavor, oyster sauce can especially enrich your next beef stew.

A common misconception is that oyster sauce smells or tastes fishy, like fish sauce, but the seafood flavors in oyster sauce are actually much more subdued. And while it's full of salinity, there's a subtle sweetness to this thick, brown, and glistening sauce. Thanks to its umami-rich quality, oyster sauce enhances savory flavors. For instance, it makes the meat flavors in the stew you're cooking more robust. It also balances flavors, mixing perfectly with the sweetness of carrots and onions.

If you're wondering how to incorporate oyster sauce into a pot of beef stew, the process is relatively straightforward. Stir in a tablespoonful during cooking, and adjust to your taste. Let the sauce meld with the other ingredients in the stew, and be mindful of oyster sauce's intensity. Beginners may find this sauce a bit too bold; even longtime users of oyster sauce may find themselves adjusting the intensity by diluting the sauce with some water.

Read more: Vinegar Cooking Hacks You'll Wish You Knew Sooner

Oyster Sauce Elevates Beef Stew And Many Other Dishes

oyster sauce dish
oyster sauce dish - Kritchai7752/Shutterstock

Moving away from beef stews, consider adding oyster sauce to other dishes like seafood stews or even chowders. Seafood dishes benefit from oyster sauce because, as aforementioned, this sauce is made from oysters. Thus, it naturally complements many seafood dishes, enhancing all the briny oceanic flavors without being overwhelming.

Regarding stir-fries, oyster sauce can be mixed with a cornstarch slurry to create a thick, glossy sauce that clings to ingredients. In the case of popular Chinese American dishes like beef and broccoli or moo goo gai pan, oyster sauce adds flavor and umami. Aside from its role in cooking, oyster sauce is often used as a stand-alone condiment or mixed with a spicy element like sriracha or chili crisp. Use oyster sauce by itself or mixed with other condiments as an intensely flavorful dipping sauce for dumplings, fried turnip cakes, and dim sum.

Rich, briny, and full of umami, oyster sauce is a must-have secret ingredient that will be invaluable to any kitchen pantry. Thank us later when you liven up your beef stew and many other dishes with oyster sauce.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.