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Fermented bean paste

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A bowl of doenjang, Korean fermented soybean paste

Fermented bean paste is a category of fermented foods typically made from ground soybeans, which are indigenous to the cuisines of East, South and Southeast Asia. In some cases, such as the production of miso, other varieties of beans, such as broad beans, may also be used.[1]

The pastes are usually salty and savoury, but may also be spicy, and are used as a condiment to flavour 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 flour, pulverized mantou, 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 tauco) before being ground.

Fermented bean pastes are sometimes the starting material used in producing soy sauces, such as tamari, or an additional product created from the same fermented mass. The paste is also the main ingredient of hoisin sauce.[2][3]

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 (all of which are based on soy and cereal grains) include:

Food Cuisine of Region
Cheonggukjang Korea East Asia
Dajiang China East Asia
Doenjang Korea East Asia
Doubanjiang China East Asia
Douchi China East Asia
Gochujang Korea East Asia
Huangjiang (yellow soybean paste) China East Asia
Hawaizaar Manipur, India South Asia
Kinema Nepal South Asia
Miso Japan East Asia
Pon ye gyi Myanmar (Burma) Southeast Asia
Tauco Indonesia Southeast Asia
Tauchu, Taucu, Tocu Malaysia, China (Southern Min) Southeast Asia and East Asia
Tao Jiew Thailand Southeast Asia
Tianmianjiang China East Asia
Tương Vietnam Southeast Asia
Thua nao Myanmar (Burma, Shan people), Laos, Thailand Southeast Asia
Tungrymbai Meghalaya, India South Asia

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Book of Miso, 2nd ed., by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press (1985)
  2. ^ Wong, Maggie Hiufu (2022-01-05). "Soy sauce: A beginner's guide to one of the world's favorite ingredients". CNN Travel. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  3. ^ Beck, Andrea (2020-10-09). "The Real Difference Between Soy Sauce And Hoisin Sauce". Mashed.com. Retrieved 2022-03-21.