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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How to make your own salted fermented soy beans

This is a very simple Foochow village style homemade fermented soy beans or tou churng.

Prerequisites:
Make a bag from white muslin material measuring 12 inches by 18 inches, or bigger if you are making a large amount.
Get a few good pieces of cotton cloth for bundling/layering.
Get a nice glass jar which can hold about 2 litres of cooked beans with a good cover.

Ingredients:
1 kg soya heans of the best quality
water to fill the saucepan
good sea salt
some vitsin (aji no moto) if you like
garlic - 3-4 cloves (smashed, Foochow style)- very important

Steps:

1. Wash and clean the soya beans
2. Boil the soya beans in a good saucepan filled with water until they are very soft (doubled the size)
3. Drain all the water and put the cooked soya beans in the clean, dry cotton bag. Wrap layers of cotton cloth (we used sarongs to do this a long time ago)
4. Store the wrapped up soya beans in a quiet cool place. (e.g. at the bottom of a cabinet, and place it in a basin as some liquid may filter through). The bundle often feels warm for many days. At this stage, you have to be very careful about cleanliness.
5. Wait for three or four days (if you are in a tropical country) and then check the beans. They are ready when they are sticky and giving a rather foul smell of decay)
6. Get a kuali or wok, heat it up and add two tablespoons of good cooking oil (not animal fat), stir fry the garlic and add the beans. Cook well, add a handful of sea salt (not too much), vitsin and some chilies (if you like).
7. Cool the cooked beans.
8. Store in your beautiful glass jar. Wait for a few days before you can use it.

Warning : The smell may be offensive to some people. But if the beans have moulds, you have not been successful. Accidents can happen. Experiment until you get the perfect taste of saltiness.

All the best.

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