FERMENTED BEAN CURD
It’s not something you’ll see in your average American kitchen, but fermented bean curd (also known as fermented tofu, bean cheese, or tofu cheese) comes in white and red varieties. Preserved and wet bean curd are two more names for this product.
So, what is this ingredient?
There’s a good chance this dish might have been featured on Fear Factor because of how unappealing it looks and tastes. Fermented foods tend to do this. The umami flavor that it imparts is quite exquisite.
As part of this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about this ingredient, from its origins to its uses in the kitchen.
Fermented bean curd is what?
Fresh bean curd (tofu) with salt, rice wine, and other flavorings is used to make fermented bean curd (fr). It’s pronounced “foo yee” for Cantonese speakers.
Unlike in China, where you may buy it fresh from the market, in the United States, it is sold in brine in the form of little cubes.
Fermented bean curd is a taste enhancer or spice rather than a primary protein source. The taste is salty, sweet, and, according to some, slightly cheesy. It also resembles a creamy cheese in terms of texture.
Hóngfr is a sort of red fermented bean curd prepared using red yeast rice, a form of fermented rice colored red/purple cultured with monascus purpureus mold. The standard white bean curd is also available. To make red fermented tofu, the rice is soaked in brine and then added to the mixture.
We don’t make sure exactly what different producers use to make fermented bean curds, but white bean curd has a more robust flavor than baijiu, a sorghum grain liquor. Compared to Shaoxing wine, the red stuff tastes more like yellow rice wine (huang jiu).
Red fermented bean curd has a more pronounced rice wine flavor for braised meat dishes and sauces, making it more suitable than white.
What is the purpose of FERMENTED BEAN CURD?
Lom yee is a Cantonese term for this dish, and it’s something we’ve been eating since we were kids.
To use as a condiment, a base for dipping sauces, or to season rice/water “pao fan” or porridge, congee, or mantou, fermented bean curd can be used in a variety of ways (plain steamed buns).
While red and white fermented bean curd can be eaten this way, we prefer white fermented bean curd with congee and break off a small bit to eat with each mouthful.
Cooked foods benefit greatly from the addition of this versatile spice. To prepare stir-fried greens, the white variety is commonly utilized. To order veggies in a Cantonese restaurant, you can choose three common preparations: simple with salt, garlic-flavored, or white fermented bean curd. Watercress, spinach, and water spinach are some of the best vegetables to prepare with white fermented bean curd.
This ingredient can also amplify the umami in a vegan Asian vegetable stock!
Marinates, sauces, and braised meat dishes are all common uses for red fermented tofu in the kitchen. The “secret ingredient” in your Fried Chinese Spareribs is always a source of conversation when you serve them.
Recent research shows that in the Chaoshan district of Guangdong Province, it is also utilized to manufacture a tea-time staple known as the “stuffed cookie”. Use it to make ham chim peng, a traditional Cantonese fried dough dish.
BUYING AND STORING
Buying this ingredient online can be prohibitively expensive, so it’s best to get it from a local Asian grocery store. At our local Chinese supermarket, Wangzhihe products are the most frequently purchased.
Do some comparison shopping and discover what you like most.
After opening, place in the refrigerator and use only clean utensils to avoid contamination. While some sites claim it can last for years, the flavor improves over time when it is chilled and handled in a sanitary manner.