Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yellow soybean paste

Yellow soybean paste is a made from yellow soybeans, salt, and water; wheat flour, though not formerly used, is often used as an additional ingredient in the modern day, and potassium sorbate may also be used as a preservative. Yellow soybean paste is produced in China and is used primarily in Beijing cuisine and other cuisines of . Despite its name, the paste is not yellow in color; it ranges from light to dark brown, or even black. The name comes from the fact that it is made from yellow soybeans, called ''huángdòu'' in Chinese. Although it would seem that the complete name in Chinese should be ''huángdòu jiàng'' , the word ''dòu'' is generally not used when referring to this paste.

Yellow soybean paste is used most notably in the noodle dish called ''zhajiang mian'' . In this dish, the yellow soybean paste is fried together with ground pork, then poured over the top of thick wheat flour noodles. Unlike sweet noodle sauce, yellow soybean paste is salty rather than sweet.

Yellow soybean paste is widely available in China, as well as in overseas, and comes in plastic packages. Three of the most prominent companies producing yellow soybean paste are the Liubiju company and the Wangzhihe company, both of Beijing; and the Tianyuan company of the Zhejiang province.

Other varieties

In recent years, a new form of yellow soybean paste, called "dry yellow soybean paste" , has been developed, and is widely available in plastic packages. Its texture is drier than that of regular yellow soybean paste , allowing for easier transportation and keeping. Dry yellow soybean paste is used in a similar manner as regular yellow soybean paste, but, when using the dry form, water is first added to dilute it, and then it is added to the dish; if it is added directly to a dish, the amount of water added to the dish should be adjusted accordingly.

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