Chinese Fermented Black Beans

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Chinese Fermented Black Beans

Postby james on Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:30 pm

Does anyone know if it's possible (or feasible) to make fermented soy beans (aka douchi, or fermented black beans) at home? Any instructions, bibliographic citations, or web pointers would be much appreciated!
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Re: Chinese Fermented Black Beans

Postby vegmeg on Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:18 pm

Hi James,

I was wondering the same thing a few months ago. I found this website that characterized the process as overwhemingly smelly: http://www.ochef.com/3.htm That's as much as I found in my searches.

Not a big help, I know :) Good luck!

Meghan
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Re: Chinese Fermented Black Beans

Postby Lauradinosaur on Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:23 pm

So everything is on the internet right? Lies!
I was trying to find out how to ferment black beans at home for ages. I love chinese black beans, and became slightly obsessed with how to do it.
In the end, I spent hours until late at night working out a vague process from chinese websites using googles' 'translate' function. And even then surprisingly I could only find descriptions of industrial methods. All useless information to you I know, but I'd just like you to know the effort I went to!

But I gave it a go, and it kind of worked. I basically just winged it, but here is what I did:
All the industrial methods said that the black beans were steamed. I couldn't be bothered with this cause I imagined that it would take too long so I boiled them until just edible. (If I was going to do it again I would steam them though to see the difference as the texture wasn't like shop-bought).
Then I went out on a limb and got the black beans from the chinese super market with the least ingredients i.e. no preservatives. My idea was to use them as a starter, and it actually worked! I used about 200g to 1kg (dried) of black beans. I mixed them together with a LOT of crushed garlic, ginger and salt, and covered them with water.
Then I left them in a warm place with a loose top on them and in a few weeks they smelt really strong, and tasted awesome. What's more, they didn't kill me!

Like I said, the consistency was different and I reckon that they could use more salt. I also dried them out in a dehydrator to keep them for longer, but think I might have dried them too much as they still remain quite hard when i make sauce and stuff, no matter how long I soak them for.

Let me know if you give it a go, and how you get on please!
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Re: Chinese Fermented Black Beans

Postby meeshy on Sat Mar 06, 2010 5:07 am

There is a recipe in Nourishing Traditions for fermented bean paste which is very good. I have done with kidney beans successfully.
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Re: Chinese Fermented Black Beans

Postby p john mathew on Fri May 14, 2010 2:11 am

darn, this is exactly what i have been trying to suss out these past few days. i am in india, i can get my hands on soy beans, which i imagine is what you start with?? but after that ? okay, i see here that you gotta boil or steam them.... and then ? how to get fermentation going ? what bacterial culture to use? can i use soy sauce? but dont they have preservatives? for how long? under airtight, light tight conditions? do the beans have to be dry or are they floating in salt solution? over here i cant just go and buy some dried black bean as someone suggested here... so how to do this, guys? i am an abso novice at fermentation so i could use all the tips i get...thanks
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Re: Chinese Fermented Black Beans

Postby Lauradinosaur on Fri May 14, 2010 12:01 pm

So i don't know what you can do if you can't get hold of the culture. Like i said before, i used already fermented black beans that i found in a shop that didn't have preservatives in them. If you can't find that then i don't know what to do.

You're basically back to where i was before i tried that. i couldn't find any information on which culture to use or what it was or where to get it at all.
I don't know where abouts you are in india, but when i was there i saw a lot of chinese restaurants and people. so there must be a chinese supermarket somewhere!
As for your other questions: i used black soy beans. they are different to soy beans (in that they are black instead of white) and black beans (in that they are soy beans not turtle beans).
after cooking i mixed some of the shop bought ones with the freshly boiled ones (200g:1kg) and addded lots of salt, ginger and garlic until i thought that it smelt good.
the culture for me came from the shop bought beans that had no preservatives in them and weren't pasturised so that they still had the culture in them.
i don't know about using soy sauce. i don't get why this would help, am i missing the point of your question? :) if you mean to get the culture, then no i suspect that as you say, it will have preservatives in it. if you mean for taste, then do it when you use them to make sauce.
as for how long, i just kept tasting them, until they tasted right and i was sure that they weren't fatal! when you have mixed the cooked beans, shop beans, ginger, garlic and salt together, i made sure that there was water covering them and left them in a glass jar with a plate on top. you can see bubbles form and watch them ferment.

the reason i tried this method was from reading anecdotal accounts of people making them and just leaving beans to sit in the sun. from this i figured that the beans will provide the conditions for the right bacteria to grow themselves, and i added shop bought ones just to give it a bit of a kick start. if you can't find fermented black beans in india, why not give it a go without, and see if they make it on their own?

okay, sorry for the length.
hope this makes some sense. good luck!
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Re: Chinese Fermented Black Beans

Postby asharpknife on Fri May 14, 2010 5:36 pm

Yeah, I think it's the kind of thing that's going to work without the necessity for a starter culture. Just lacto-fermentation, why not? It's definitely worth a try!
Google group for fermentation fetishists.
http://groups.google.com/group/fermfriends/

Blog by me.
http://fermfriends.wordpress.com/
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Re: Chinese Fermented Black Beans

Postby elektrogeist on Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:06 pm

Not sure why you'd want to make it when you can buy a pound of them in any Asian supermarket for under 2 bucks, nothing but beans salt and ginger.
And from the looks of it, only made with a specific bean grown in China. In almost all cooking, it seems to be mashed up with ginger/garlic and used as a cooking seasoning.
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Re: Chinese Fermented Black Beans

Postby asharpknife on Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:24 pm

Well, it's pretty cheap to buy sauerkraut too, but it's just fun to make these things yourself sometimes. And of course, not everywhere has an Asian food market.
Google group for fermentation fetishists.
http://groups.google.com/group/fermfriends/

Blog by me.
http://fermfriends.wordpress.com/
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Re: Chinese Fermented Black Beans

Postby morkthedelayer on Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:04 pm

I found a recipe for Filipino fermented black beans that I would venture is probably pretty similar.

How to Make Taosi (Fermented Blackbeans)

I'd like to give this a try myself once I find some Aspergillus oryzae.
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