Taucheo (Salted, Fermented Soy Beans)

Taucheo is salted, fermented soybeans, and this is how we use it in recipes.
Taucheo, salted, fermented soybeans
salted soybeans, taucheo in a small white bowl

Taucheo is an essential ingredient in much of East and South East Asia.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

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

Taucheo, salted, fermented soybeans
the soybeans are still whole

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:

Singapore Chilli Crab Recipe and Video
Ever wondered how to cook Singapore Chilli Crab? Here I show you how to cook this iconic recipe in your own home, with accompanying video.
Check out this recipe!
Ayam Assam Serani (Tangy Eurasian Chicken Curry)
Ayam Assam Serani is a delicious, dry-ish curry with tangy flavours from the Eurasian community in Singapore and Malaysia.
Check out this recipe!
Ayam Assam Serani in a white bowl

♥ If you found this article useful, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! ? Thank you! 

And feel free to tag me on Instagram @azlinbloor with your recipes. If using one of mine, hashtag it #linsfood.

Lin xx

Taucheo, salted, fermented soybeans

How to use Taucheo

Azlin Bloor
Taucheo is salted, fermented soybeans, and this is how we use it in recipes.
5 from 12 votes
Cuisine Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean


  • a small bowl
  • a fork



  • 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.
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4 thoughts on “Taucheo (Salted, Fermented Soy Beans)”

  1. 5 stars
    I love Taucheo!! My mother used to stirfry veggies with it all the time and they were my favorite. Please, I would be so grateful if you could share your recipe for homemade Taucheo. I am the first generation born in America, and it is frightening at how quickly we are losing our cultural recipes, especially ones that involve fermenting. I would love to learn it and preserve this skill for the future generations, and to honor the memory of my mom who is not around to teach me these things anymore. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

    1. My pleasure, Jenny. And I am absolutely with you on the need to preserve our old recipes. Well, just ordered some soybeans from Amazon. I’ll get it started sometime this week. Will send you an email when it’s up on the blog.

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this information. I just made a dish (minced chicken&silk tofu) that required taucheo. As you recommended I replaced with a little miso (I only had white) and a litte chili bean sauce. My meal tasted FABULOUS! Thank you for you help….so much!

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