Fermented bean paste
Fermented bean paste is a category of fermented foods typically made from ground soybeans, which are indigenous to the cuisines of East and Southeast Asia. In some cases, such as in the production of doubanjiang, other varieties of beans such as broad beans, may also be used.
The pastes are usually savory, but may also be spicy, and are used as a condiment to flavor foods such as stir-fries, stews, and soups. The colours of such pastes range from light tan, to reddish brown and dark brown. The differences in colour are due to different production methods such as the conditions of fermentation, the addition of wheat, mantou flour, rice, or sugar and the presence of different microflora such as bacteria or molds used in their production, as well as whether the soybeans are roasted (as in chunjang) or aged (as in tauchu) before being ground.
Due to the protein content of the beans, the fermentation process releases a large amount of free amino acids, which when combined with the large amounts of salt used in its production, produces a highly umami product. This is particularly true with miso, which can be used as the primary ingredient in certain dishes such as miso soup.
Various types of fermented bean paste by their region of production include:
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