Oyster sauce magically marries the ingredients in stir fry dishes, giving the dish a rich and earthy flavor. Oyster sauce is made from oyster juice, sugar, salt and cornstarch. Oyster sauce is high in glutamate, and thus adds umami when you cook with it. Oyster sauce is used in Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.
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When you buy oyster sauce
Buy oyster sauce that is made from real oysters and avoid any that is made with artificial oyster flavoring. Some oyster sauce contains fermented wheat protein, so it is not gluten free. Some oyster sauce contains MSG, although there are MSG-free products on the market. See my recipe for Asparagus and shiitake mushrooms in oyster sauce.