Are you a fan of stir-fry dishes and dips that require thick soy sauce, but can’t seem to find it in your local supermarket?
Don’t worry, there are plenty of substitutes that can give your dishes the same sweet and flavorful taste.
Thick soy sauce is a popular ingredient in Taiwanese stews and braised pork rice, but it can be difficult to come by outside of Asia.
Luckily, there are alternatives like oyster sauce that can be used as a substitute.
In this article, we’ll explore the world of thick soy sauce substitutes and how they can enhance the flavor of your favorite dishes.
So, let’s dive in!
What Is Thick Soy Sauce Substitute?
Thick soy sauce is a sweet and flavorful ingredient that is commonly used in stir-fry dishes and dips. It is made with sugar, wheat, and sometimes a starch thickener. However, if you can’t find thick soy sauce in your local supermarket, there are plenty of substitutes that can give your dishes the same taste.
One popular substitute for thick soy sauce is oyster sauce. This sauce has a similar sweet and savory flavor and can be used in stews and braised pork rice, just like thick soy sauce. Another great substitute is hoisin sauce, which has a slightly sweeter taste but still adds depth to your dishes.
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to thick soy sauce, you can try coconut aminos. This sauce is made from fermented coconut plant sap and has a dark brown color with a slightly sweet and salty taste. It’s also gluten-free and vegan, making it a great option for those with dietary restrictions.
Other substitutes for thick soy sauce include dark soy sauce, which has a richer flavor and darker color than regular soy sauce. You can also try teriyaki sauce, molasses, tamari, or Worcestershire sauce.
What Is Thick Soy Sauce?
Thick soy sauce is a type of soy sauce that is commonly used in Asian cuisine. It is made with sugar, wheat, and sometimes a starch thickener, which gives it a thicker and sweeter taste compared to regular soy sauce. Thick soy sauce is usually used in stir-fry dishes and dips, and it’s a popular ingredient in Taiwanese stews and braised pork rice.
It’s important to note that the term “thick soy sauce” can mean different things in different countries. In Chinese cuisine, it generally refers to dark soy sauce, which is thicker than light soy sauce and has a caramel-like flavor. This type of thick soy sauce is commonly used as a condiment to add color and umami flavor to food.
In Southeast Asia, thick soy sauce could refer to either dark soy sauce or Kecap Manis, a sweet and sticky sauce that is commonly used in Malay and Indonesian cuisine. Kecap Manis is sweeter than dark soy sauce and often cooked with spices and aromatics.
For Taiwanese people, thick soy sauce is referred to as “Jiang you gao” (醬油膏) or soy sauce paste. This type of thick soy sauce has a sweet taste and is not absorbed by food but instead lingers on the surface areas of the ingredients.
Why Is Thick Soy Sauce Hard To Find?
Thick soy sauce can be difficult to find in many supermarkets, as many sauces labeled as “thick” soy sauce are, in fact, sweet soy sauce. This can be confusing for those who are looking for the specifically thick and viscous texture of thick soy sauce. Additionally, the lack of standard names for different types of soy sauces can make it challenging to identify the right type of sauce. For example, some sauces are sold as sweet dark sauce, sweet soy sauce, black soy sauce, double black soy sauce, thick soy sauce, and Kecap Manis. However, these names may not always indicate the same type of sauce, making it tricky to find the right substitute. Furthermore, some types of thick soy sauces, such as Ruei Chun, can be hard to find in supermarkets but are worth sourcing from specialty markets or online vendors for their pure and traditional flavor. Overall, the difficulty in finding thick soy sauce may be due to a lack of standardization in labeling and sourcing of this specific type of sauce.
Common Thick Soy Sauce Substitutes
If you’re looking for a common thick soy sauce substitute, oyster sauce is a great option. It has a similar sweet and savory flavor to thick soy sauce and can be used in stews and braised pork rice. Hoisin sauce is another popular substitute with a slightly sweeter taste but still adds depth to your dishes.
For a healthier alternative, coconut aminos is an excellent option. It has a dark brown color with a slightly sweet and salty taste and is gluten-free and vegan. Dark soy sauce is another substitute that has a richer flavor and darker color than regular soy sauce.
If you prefer a sweeter taste in your dishes, teriyaki sauce or molasses can be used as substitutes for thick soy sauce. Tamari is another option that is similar in taste to soy sauce but gluten-free.
Finally, Worcestershire sauce can also be used as a thick soy sauce substitute, although it has a different flavor profile with a tangy and slightly sweet taste. Overall, there are many options available for those who can’t find thick soy sauce or are looking for healthier alternatives.
Using Oyster Sauce As A Thick Soy Sauce Substitute
Oyster sauce is a great substitute for thick soy sauce because it has a similar flavor profile and consistency. Like thick soy sauce, oyster sauce is made with sugar and salt, and it has a thick and syrupy texture that can coat your food well. It also adds a savory umami flavor to your dishes.
To use oyster sauce as a thick soy sauce substitute, you can use it in equal amounts or adjust the ratio slightly depending on your taste preferences. Keep in mind that oyster sauce is slightly sweeter than thick soy sauce, so you may need to adjust the sweetness of your dish accordingly. You can also dilute the oyster sauce with a little bit of water or broth to make it thinner if needed.
One thing to note is that oyster sauce contains oyster extractives, which may not be suitable for vegetarians or vegans. If you’re looking for a plant-based alternative, you can try hoisin sauce or coconut aminos instead.
Other Flavorful Alternatives To Thick Soy Sauce
In addition to the substitutes mentioned above, there are several other flavorful alternatives to thick soy sauce that you can try. One of them is liquid aminos, which is made from unfermented soybeans and has a milder, sweeter taste than soy sauce. It’s also vegan, gluten-free, and alcohol-free.
If you prefer to make your own sauce from scratch, there are several recipes you can try. Don’t Mess with Mama’s soy sauce substitute is soy-free and gluten-free and contains bone broth, vinegars, organic dark molasses, and date sugar. Well Fed recommends a recipe that incorporates beef broth, cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses, and fish sauce for added flavor. A similar recipe from Wellness Mama uses beef broth, traditional molasses, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and fish sauce.
For a vegan soy sauce alternative, try this recipe from Vegan Lovlie that calls for vegetable bouillon, blackstrap molasses, and fenugreek seeds to establish a flavor that mimics soy sauce. It’s a budget-friendly recipe that can be made in larger batches for freezing. Steamy Kitchen shows you how to make a variety of Asian-style slow cooker bone broths using ingredients such as garlic, ginger, green onions, dried shrimp or black mushrooms for a Chinese-inspired broth, and dried kombu for a Japanese broth.
With so many flavorful alternatives to thick soy sauce available, you can easily find a substitute that works best for your taste preferences and dietary restrictions. Experiment with different options to find the perfect substitute for your favorite dishes.
Tips For Using Thick Soy Sauce Substitutes In Your Cooking
When using a thick soy sauce substitute in your cooking, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your substitute:
1. Adjust the amount: Thick soy sauce substitutes have different levels of sweetness and saltiness compared to the real thing. Start by using a small amount and adjust according to your taste.
2. Check the consistency: Some substitutes may not be as thick as thick soy sauce, so you may need to adjust the amount or add a thickener like cornstarch or arrowroot powder.
3. Consider the flavor profile: Some substitutes may have a slightly different flavor profile compared to thick soy sauce. For example, oyster sauce has a seafood flavor, while hoisin sauce has a sweeter taste. Consider how the substitute will affect the overall taste of your dish.
4. Use it as a marinade: Thick soy sauce substitutes can be used as marinades for meats and vegetables. The sweetness and saltiness can help tenderize the meat and add flavor.
5. Experiment with different substitutes: Don’t be afraid to try different substitutes until you find one that works best for your recipe. Each substitute has its own unique flavor and texture, so try them out to see which one you prefer.
By following these tips, you can successfully use a thick soy sauce substitute in your cooking without compromising on taste or texture.