Sunday, 12 July 2009
Chinese fermented black beans or Douchi is a popular Chinese flavouring that is used in cooking and to make black bean sauce.
Douchi is made by salting and fermenting soybeans. The process turns the beans black, soft and quite dry. It has a spicy smell, with a taste that is salty and somewhat bitter and sweet.
Douchi should not be confused with black turtle beans, that are commonly used in Central American, South American and Caribbean cuisines.
Douchi is usually used to flavour fish or stir-fried vegetables (particularly bitter melon and leafy vegetables). Unlike some other fermented soybean-based foods such as natto (a Japanese speciality made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis) or tempeh (Javanese fermented soybean cake), douchi is used only as a seasoning, and is not meant to be consumed in large quantities, being typically much more salty.
Small packets of douchi are available wherever Chinese groceries are sold. Use according to packet or recipe instructions.
BLACK BEAN SAUCE/PASTE
In Chinese cuisine, condiments such as black bean paste, black bean sauce or black bean garlic sauce is made from douchi, with garlic and soy sauce usually added to the beans. This paste is commercially available in glass jars from companies such as Lee Kum Kee. Use as a marinade, stir-fry seasoning or sauce over rice, noodles and all kinds of dishes such as my CHICKEN AND CHILLI BLACK BEAN SAUCE.