Fermented bean paste refers to the soft and wet mixture of fermented and ground beans that are prepared in the Asian regions. A large variety of beans are used in preparing this fermented paste in East and Southeast Asia. These pastes are usually strong in flavor and very thick. They are used as ingredients in other dishes to flavor foods like stir fries, stews and sauces. The colors of the bean pastes also vary according to the ingredients that have been added to the paste.
Culinary Uses of Fermented Bean Paste
Fermented bean paste is an essential part of other dishes. Its strong taste is used to flavor noodles, stir fries, soups and roasts. Most fermented pastes are also varied in color and can be used to flavor and color sauces like soy sauce, tamari sauce, etc. Readymade fermented bean pastes are also available in bottled form that can be used in different dishes.
Popular Fermented Bean Paste in World Cuisine
- China has several varieties of fermented paste like Doubanjiang, Yellow Soybean Paste, Gochujang, Douchi, Daijiang and Tian mian jiang.
Korea has several varieties of fermented pastes too like Doenjang, Gochujang and Cheonggukjang.
- Japan produces a very popular version called as miso that is used worldwide.
- Vietnam produces a locally used version called as Tuong.
- Indonesia produces a local version called as Tauco.
- Thailand produces several local versions of fermented bean paste, like tao-jiao.
Popular Fermented Bean Paste Recipes
Most fermented pastes have strong tastes and flavors. As a result, they are used as ingredients in other recipes. Popular recipes that use the paste include-
- Thai dishes like Rad Na, Pad See Ew, and Khau Man Gai all use Thai tao-jiao bean paste as a flavoring ingredient.
- Mapo dofu is a Schezuan dish that uses bean curd and bean paste to create the distinctive taste.
- Pork with bitter melon is a very distinctive dish that uses salted beans and bean paste to create the flavors of the dish.
It is also possible to produce fermented bean paste at home. Beans are cooked and ground with onions, garlic cloves, sea salt and whey. The paste is then tipped into a Mason jar and allowed to ferment. It becomes ready to eat in three days. The fermentation process can increase the amount of lactobacilli in the paste. This increases the digestibility of the paste and converts the starches and sugars into beneficial lactic acid.