I was proved wrong, of course. Both fish sauce and oyster sauce are final touches to popular dishes ranging from curries to soups.
Now I have both sauces in my fridge and have found that both can be used to add a depth of flavor to most dishes, Asian or not.
Of the two, oyster sauce is a little more palatable on its own, so if you're hesitant about the fishyness of these sauces, I would try this one. Make sure you find one that does not have MSG or other preservatives in it -- like Lee Kum Kee's Panda Brand -- and remember, a little bit goes a long way.
I had a ton of asparagus on hand-- it's on sale everywhere here-- and with some brown rice, it made for a great lunch or light dinner.
asparagus oyster sauce stir fry with rice
1/4 lb of asparagus, washed and cut into 2-inch pieces (cut off hard ends)
2 garlic cloves, diced
a few slices of fresh ginger, grated (tip: keep your ginger root in the freezer-- it will stay fresher longer and will still work great in any dish)
2 tbs peanut oil or other high-heat oil
cooked brown rice
1 tbs oyster sauce
3 tbs rice vinegar
(I use a 3:1 ratio for the sauce-- feel free to alter for more or less people)
Heat a pan to high-heat and add oil.
Once oil starts bubbling, turn down heat to medium high and add garlic and ginger.
Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute
Add asparagus and cook for just 2 to 3 minutes until asparagus is crisp tender, but still bright green.
Stir in oyster-vinegar sauce and heat for 30 seconds.
Remove pan from heat, continuing to stir as the pan cools down.
Serve with brown rice. Drizzle remaining sauce in the pan over the rice if desired.
I was given Lee Kum Kee Panda Brand Oyster Sauce to try out in my cooking; all opinions are my own.