Taucheo is an essential ingredient in much of East and South East Asia.
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Table of contents
How to pronounce Taucheo
- Tau – the ow is the same vowel sound as in HOW
- ch – this is the ch sound in chair
- eo – this is the same vowel sound as in Rio (some people, especially Indonesians, would also make the sound oh (silent h)
What is Taucheo?
Taucheo is salted, fermented soybeans, and used as an ingredient to add depth and an earthy saltiness to dishes.
It’s found in various guises in all over East and South east Asia.
- in China, where it originates, it’s called huáng jiàng
- in Indonesia, it is spelled tauco
- in Korean, the paste is called doenjang
The taucheo that is commonly sold and used in Singapore and Malaysia varies slightly the Chinese and Korean ones, in that the soy beans are left whole.
To use, we simply mash them with a fork or add to the ingredients meant to be ground to a paste.
The Chinese and Korean ones, however, are sold in paste form. I have a pretty big Korean supermarket within walking distance to me, and am pretty happy using the Korean version, when the little Chinese shop doesn’t have any in stock
How is it Made?
To make taucheo, soybeans are soaked in brine, then left to ferment over a period of time, resulting in a deep, earthy flavour that is essential in so many of our recipes.
In the Chinese version, the soybeans are mashed and also dried in the sun for a certain period of time.
It is pretty easy to make at home, if you are so inclined, and if you cannot get your hands on any. But online shopping makes so many exotic ingredients highly accessible, methinks, no?
Perhaps one day, I might do a recipe on homemade taucheo!
Substitute for this Yellow Soybean Paste
The best substitute for taucheo is the darkest miso paste you can find. The deep red one, or a dark brown one is the best. It doesn’t matter too much if it’s rice based, you will still be getting that deep earthy and slightly tangy flavour.
Failing that, you could use hoisin sauce, but try and get the one with the least amount of added ingredients. Hoisin also tends to be on the sweet side, so go easy.
If your dish is going to be spicy, you could use a chilli bean paste, but I would check the amount of soybean to chilli first. As these tend to be heavy on the chilli, and light on the beans.
So, want to cook Singaporean and Malaysian with me? Go get a bottle of these salted soy beans. Because the iconic Singapore Chilli Crab requires it! And I shall be adding more recipe using taucheo as time goes by.
Let’s get cooking!
Recipes using Taucheo
I have quite a few recipes that use these soy beans, but they are all still on LinsFood.com. I shall add them here as we go on. But for now, here are 2 of them:
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How to use Taucheo
- a small bowl
- a fork
- 1 Tbsp taucheo
- If not being ground, all you do is roughly mash the taucheo with the back of a fork. The taucheo is very soft, so this won't take long at all. It doesn't want to be a smooth paste, just a rough mash.
- Add to the recipe as directed.