Not too many years ago, I discovered oyster sauce during a barbecue at a friend’s house. I wasn’t sure what the new flavour was, but I really enjoyed it.
I have passed on the secret to many others since then and all who have tried it rave about it.
This sauce can be found in all grocery stores in the Asian or spice section right beside the soy sauce. It comes in a medium size glass bottle, but after you’ve tried it, you’ll be grabbing the big 3 litre plastic jug to keep the standard size jar topped up.
Like soy sauce it has a high sodium content (31 per cent) so salt avoiders will use it sparingly.
I first tasted it on a tin-foil wrapped baked potato, which had been sectioned into six pieces and held together by the foil. Just put a tablespoon or so of the sauce on the potato then open the cuts and let the sauce down into the centre of the spud. Tightly wrap the foil and since it has been cut it will be done in about 45 minutes. No sour cream necessary. Thickly sliced, foil-wrapped potatoes work just as well and the portions can all be cooked in one foil-wrapped package.
In a large Ziploc, shake pared vegetables for a stir-fry with oyster sauce and cook, stirring frequently in a vegetable wok on the barbecue. Sauté the same veggies in a cast iron pan or wok and add oyster sauce near the time they are done. Shut off heat and cover for 5 minutes before serving. Try various coloured peppers, sliced zucchini, red onion, carrots, broccoli or cauliflower, separately or all together. Bean sprouts and water chestnuts are always welcome.
Try cabbage in single servings or larger portions, wrapped in foil coated with oyster sauce and on the barbecue. Depending on temperature, look for about 35-45 minutes to be done. If it is not done, just re-wrap the foil and put it back on the grill. Just remember the total time so you know for next time. Foil-wrapped cole-slaw works well, also, but needs to be monitored closely as the smaller pieces can easily burn.
Cut any wild game, domestic meat or fowl into stir fry pieces (about 1 cm thick and finger length or less) and cook in a cast iron pan or veggie wok on the barbecue. In a Ziploc, shake in olive oil (just enough to coat) and add oyster sauce while cooking. The pan should be very hot and the food should be stirred continuously for only a few minutes to be done. Take off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes with a lid or foil cover.
A veggie wok can be found at any store that sells barbecues and accessories. They are stainless steel, round or square, the size of a dinner plate and full of holes. They blacken up quite quickly and are kept reasonably clean by scraping with the spatula or leaving them on the hot barbecue grill.