Fermented soybeans are used in a wide variety of delicious Chinese sauces and pastes. You’ll find them neatly shelved next to one another in any Chinese supermarket, and they’re perfect for seasoning stir-fries, stews, and other foods in an instant. Find the section stocked with an overwhelming selection of Asian condiments such as soy sauces, vinegar, rice wines, spicy sauces, and bean pastes.
Tofu and bean paste are the two main ingredients in the ground bean sauce we’ll be discussing here.
What is Ground Bean Sauce?
Yellow soybeans are fermented to create a tangy and savory ground bean sauce. This bean paste is often seasoned with sesame oil, sugar, and spices in addition to the traditional sweet soybean paste’s basic ingredients of soybeans, wheat, and salt. Flavor-wise, it’s subtle and salty, with a hefty umami kick from fermented soybeans.
Some people also call it “sweet flour sauce,” which can be easily mistaken for sweet bean sauce. It has a deeper hue and is typically not produced using a preponderance of soybeans but somewhat fermented wheat flour.
To add insult to injury, it might look a lot like Hoisin Sauce and Chee Hou Sauce, both of which are actually made with soybeans but are often confused with one another. Despite their unique flavor profiles, many of these pastes and sauces possess similar characteristics; the subtle distinctions between them are sometimes only apparent upon direct comparison.
What is the proper way to use it?
Many generations of my family have used a ground bean sauce from Koon Chun; we termed it “meen see jeung” in Cantonese. We put it in our Takeout Style Chinese Spare Ribs recipe and other Chinese BBQ spare rib sauces.
Receiving and Storing
Koon Chun, which we have used for many years, is the most well-known brand that we prefer. It’s easy to find thanks to the clear labels written in English. You can purchase it at Asian supermarkets or on the internet. There is also the Lee Kum Kee brand, which is commonly found in Chinese supermarkets.
Keep in mind that Koon Chun’s “Bean Sauce” may also be accessible. There is a striking resemblance between the jars and the names.
Soybean paste, water, sugar, salt, and sesame oil are all ingredients in both sauces. Basically, both are bean sauce, but ground bean sauce contains some extra seasonings.
Our conclusion? Given that they serve the same purpose, you can choose either one. However, if you are forced to choose one over the other, ground bean sauce is the better option. Extra seasonings won’t do any harm.
Refrigerate and scoop out the amount you need for a recipe with a clean spoon. In this form, it can be stored for up to a year.
The ground bean sauce can be replaced with any fermented soybean sauce such as hoisin sauce, chee hou sauce, or normal bean paste.
We just finished discussing the importance of not getting these sauces mixed up. But if you need a replacement, you can use either interchangeably!