March 1, 2012 2:06 AM   Subscribe

Tell me everything you know about cooking with douchi!

I have graduated from black bean sauce to douchi (sold in a 16oz bag) and now i need to know what to do with it. How do I prepare it? How do I store it? What's the shelf life? How much do I use per person? Does it fully replace black bean sauce or are there times I'd still want the sauce instead of the douchi?
posted by nadawi to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't usually use black bean sauce, but I assume you can use it in the same dishes. You will probably have to adjust the sweetness and the amount of soy sauce that you add in the dish.

I soak them in some warm water for 15 min before I add it to whatever I'm making. I usually add about 1 tablespoon (dry, before soaking) to a 4-5 serving dish. It's delish in stir-fried bitter gourd and sauteed greens, tofu & meat dishes, and steamed spareribs.

I would store it in an airtight container in the fridge, but room temp is probably ok too. (I store mine in the cupboard with no ill effects.)
posted by scalespace at 6:06 AM on March 1, 2012

Hey, I just learned the real name for salted black beans! (That's what the English label says.) They're effectively immortal, as kalessin says, and I just keep them on the shelf in a jar.

They're the basis of black bean sauce, which I also never buy ready-made, since I prefer the taste of fresh black bean sauce and it's definitely one of the easiest to make. I can't imagine you'd ever want both douchi and bottled sauce together. I like the slightly funky fermented taste, so I generally double the amount called for in the recipe. This works about to about 1 - 2 Tbs per serving.

The only thing I'd do differently from kalessin is that I don't rinse the beans before use. I never add salt in addition to the soy sauce, so the extra that comes from the beans is OK, and I find that the beans get mushy and messy after soaking. By using them dry, they're easier to chop without smearing all over the cutting board or food processor.

They're chopped before use, but I don't chop them too finely. I want the little bursts of flavor as I bite into the chunks. (If I want a creamy smooth sauce, I use unsweetened black bean paste instead of douchi.) Aim for each bean cut into about 2 - 4 pieces on average. Coarsely chopped, in other words. If you're chopping stuff in the food processor, put the ginger in first since it's fairly tough and fibrous, then the garlic, and when that's all minced nicely, drop in the douchi and give a quick pulse. That should give large chunks of beans.

A large Chinese grocery store will carry several brands but I've never found any difference among them. There's a version that includes ginger with the beans but I don't like it - the ginger doesn't taste right and it's definitely not a replacement for fresh ginger. Stick with the basic douchi.
posted by Quietgal at 9:29 AM on March 1, 2012

Ugff. I also differ from kalessin in the chop vs. mash approach. Stupid brain.
posted by Quietgal at 9:32 AM on March 1, 2012

Response by poster: you guys are awesome! it looks like i got the ginger black beans - they say "spiced" and have ginger and orange peel. i might try to find the regular kind just to compare. i do enjoy a bit of funk in my chinese food though. i'm marking kalessin as best answer just to highlight the rundown of the sauce. all of you were very helpful. thanks!
posted by nadawi at 12:22 PM on March 1, 2012

> kind with ginger is used when you want extra funkiness

Aha ... thanks, kalessin, I'll have to try it next time I'm in the mood for some Super Funkadelic black bean sauce.

posted by Quietgal at 1:41 PM on March 1, 2012

Response by poster: this is what i got.

i'm not really worried about moving away from western tastes. i favor a pretty pungent oyster sauce and have multiple types of soy sauce and rice wine vinegars. i'm striving for more authentic and less mall fast food. i do thank you for the warning though - i'll certainly go sparingly at first while i build my own courage.
posted by nadawi at 1:57 PM on March 1, 2012

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