Best 5 Broad Bean Paste (Doubanjiang) Reviews
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Nothing better expresses the value and cultural beliefs of people than their food. This essence is particularly proven when there is a culture that is more renowned globally for its unique culinary skills. The cuisine of the Sichuan province in China is popular for its spices and seasonings. The most valued seasoning paste is the broad bean paste, commonly known as the “doubanjiang”. It is the most important and the most common seasoning for several prominent Sichuan dishes such as the twice-cooked pork, Shuizhu Beef, and the Mapo tofu. No wonder it is regarded as the “soul” of the Sichuan cuisine. It has a spicy, earthy, salty and deep flavor that is a secret weapon in the arsenal of virtually all Sichuan housewives.
We’ve brought you the best broad bean pastes you need in your kitchen. We’ve also reviewed the best options for specific purposes.
Why should we use broad bean paste?
Broad bean paste is essentially a salty paste that is created from soybeans, fermented broad beans, rice, wheat flour, salt, and other spices. It originated from the Sichuan province, but there are various versions of broad bean paste across China and other Asian countries. The broad bean paste is known for its rich, savory-spicy and earthy flavor. This can be attributed to the fact that it goes through a long fermentation process, increasing its color and flavor.
The broad beans paste is the essential seasoning in Sichuan cuisine for a reason. During the fermentation process, the protein content of the cooked beans releases a substantial amount of free amino acids. The broad bean paste further releases a large amount of salt, producing a high umami flavoring that adds magic and improves the complexities of the food it is added to. This umami taste is very important as it is the sole reason for the fermentation of the beans used in making seasoning sauces and pastes.
Moreover, the broad bean paste adds an authentic flavor to foods because of its distinctive coarse seasoning texture. Besides Sichuan cuisine, the doubanjiang can be used with other Chinese and Asian dishes because it creates an earthy, savory taste that you’ll always want to include in your meal. Also, the red-brown color of the doubanjiang will significantly enrich the color and appearance of your meal. Whenever you use this seasoning, you don’t have to use soy sauce.
How to use it for Asian cooking?
I’m completely in love with the broad bean paste. Most addicted cooks have to stop themselves from using this seasoning in every mean they prepare. It turns even a dish as simple as noodles into a flavor bomb! You can use it in Mapo tofu, Kung Pao chicken, Dan Dan noodles, twice-cooked pork, and Shuizhu Beef. The broad beans paste is too salty to be used as the only flavor in a dish or as a garnish, it better works its unique magic when it is combined with other ingredients. For a dish meant for four persons, a single tablespoon of broad bean paste is enough.
You can fry it in oil with ginger and/ or garlic, and then mix it in noodles or rice for a tremendous effect. An easy way to begin adding doubanjiang to your food is by incorporating it to your veggies. We can use the broad bean paste in cooking the Chinese broccoli (guy lan, in Cantonese), Brussels sprout or baby bok choy. It can also be mixed with cauliflower or lima beans.
The Top 5 Broad Bean Pastes
#1 Sichuan Pi Xian Broad Bean Paste
If you want your meals to have a unique flavor depth, then you’ll do well to go with this doubanjiang brand. It works exceptionally well with meal recipes that need the pixian doubanjiang. This Sichuan Pixian broad bean paste is an intense, spicy blend of preserved broad beans and chilies. It is made from the Sichuan province in China — Pixian which is famous for its chili bean pastes.
It has a savory, nutty flavor with an earthy, warm spiciness. In fact, the fermentation process that this product goes through imbues it with a dash of sweetness. When you need to make a Sichuan dish, stir-fry this broad bean paste in oil, and you can expect the best flavor in your meal. We can use it in different dishes including stews, salads, stir-fries, soups, and marinades. It is also a good condiment to be used with plain rice. It has a rich, intense brown color and chunky chili pieces. It is important to note that the paste is typically spicy and salty. Hence, you should be very careful with the quantity of salt you add to the meal.
It has a pungent and delicious taste that is loaded with a rich, malty umami flavor. It has an incomparable flavor that is medium spicy hot. You can very well taste the authenticity that this doubanjiang offers.
- It stores extremely well. An unopened package can last for years while an opened package stored in a ziplock bag in the fridge can last for months
- It is sold in single pouches within a larger bag which makes it easy to measure for cooking
- Has an authentic taste
- It is very concentrated
- Medium in salt level
- Very salty
- Requires mincing
#2 SOEOS Sichuan Pixian Broad Bean Paste
This is a very spicy doubanjiang, and it has red chilies which make the color very reddish-brown, flavoring it into an intensely hot paste. This brand broad bean paste is well known for its good quality. While cooking, you can stir-fry it in oil, and then consume it with noodles and rice. It is made using broad beans, salt, red chilies, vegetable flour, wheat flour, potassium sorbate, monosodium glutamate oil, and water.
Besides being rich in flavor, this brand is reddish-oily and has a strong fragrance. It is the perfect seasoning companion for Muxu pork, Mapo Tofu, tofu salad or twice-cooked pork. It is made with traditional technology by fermenting it in 3 ft. tall terracotta crocks for several months before adding chilies and other ingredients. And then leaving it to ferment for up to a year.
It has a pungent, strong and hot taste. It is very concentrated. The taste is spicy but not overpowering.
- Clean and effective packaging with individual pouches within the outer packaging
- High-quality paste with crushed red pepper, seeds, and chunks of broad bean
- Has a beautiful red color
- It doesn’t require chopping
- Absence of ingredient list or standard nutritional information
#3 Lee Kum Kee LKK Chili Bean Sauce
Produced by a Cantonese company, this chili bean sauce. It also referred to as “Toban Djan” adds a great flavor to a wide variety of Chinese dishes. It is made from a unique blend of fermented broad bean paste (water, broad beans, wheat flour, water, salt), salted chili peppers, modified corn starch, fermented soybean paste (salt, water, wheat flour, soybean), chili pepper powder, soybean oil, dehydrated garlic and two flavor enhancers. It is a necessary ingredient in the delicious Kung Pao chicken dish and a wonderful addition to any stir-fry meal.
Are you tired of your usual style chili sauces? Then, try out this incredible Lee Kum Kee LKK chili bean sauce and give your taste buds something new. It is one of the top 10 best chili bean sauces and among the reasons for this is that it makes meals much tastier. The spicy taste of this product makes it much sought-after. Also, users find it appealing that each of the ingredients used in the production of this product is of top-grade quality.
It has a hot and spicy flavor that adds the much-needed kick to make meals tasty. The flavor is not as concentrated as some brands. It has a sweet garlic flavor which doesn’t linger for long.
- Made with the best ingredients
- It is packed in an attractive air-tight jar (glass)
- Not ideal for consumers allergic to soybeans and wheat
- Not really ideal for Sichuan dishes
- Has a pale color
#4 Sichuan Pixian Broad Bean Paste with Red Chili Oil
If you are a lover of the Sichuan style of cooking, then this is another must-have doubanjiang. It is made with ingredients such as broad beans, red chili, wheat flour, salt, vegetable oil, spice, food additive, and spice. Though it is not packaged in the attractive glass jar of the Lee Kum Kee chili bean sauce, its packaging is plastic, making it easy to store and use without worrying about casualties.
If you are after mala flavors, then this is the brand to go for. The oil added absorbs the chili flavor and the heat, ensuring that this product has a faultlessly balanced flavor. The unique flavor of this broad bean paste is indeed remarkable. Apart from Suichan cuisine, you can use this in other dishes including stew, soup, salad, stir-fry, and marinades. With the added oil, this product is highly salty and spicy. So, be careful with the amount you use in cooking.
It has an amazing fermented flavor. The flavor adds complexities even to simple dishes. It is also spicy
- Provides Mala and Yuxiang flavors
- Has an incredible fermented thang
- Has perfect consistency and good heat
- Imparts great color to dishes
- Too salty and spicy
#5 Pearl River Bridge Preserved Beans
Preserved black beans are usually made from soybeans that have gone through the fermentation process, and have been dried with salt. We can add other spices such as ginger and chilies. These fermented beans are age-old traditional foods that are used as seasonings and condiments in several East Asia countries.
Among the numerous preserved beans on the market, the Pearl River Yang Jiang product is one of the most famous. This preserved seasoning ingredient is very common in many Cantonese kitchens. You can expect to get pungent and salty flavor qualities from this product. These preserved beans are very versatile, and it is widely used in cooking different Chinese dishes. This Pearl River product is processed through the traditional method, offering standard nutrition and delicious taste.
It has a crisp, delicious taste. It has a concentrated undiluted taste, so a few will work.
- It can be stored for a long time
- Has a deliciously salty flavor
- Very versatile and can be used in cooking various Asian dishes.
- Extremely concentrated
Due to the versatility and taste of broad bean pastes, there are several on the market, making it hard for cooks to make a wise choice. Hence, this review. So, these are some of the best broad bean pastes you can avail yourself of on the market. Even if you are not the best cook, your dishes can come out tasting like they were prepared by pros in the restaurant.
The Sichuan / Pixian / Pi Xian Broad Bean Paste is ideal for Sichuan dishes. However, it can be used for various other dishes as well. The SOEOS Sichuan Pixian Broad Bean Paste with Chili Oil is perfect for Muxu pork, Mapo Tofu, tofu salad or twice-cooked pork. On the other hand, the Lee Kum Kee LKK Chili Bean Sauce is an essential ingredient for the Kung Pao chicken dish and a great addition to any stir-fry meal. The reviewed Sichuan Pixian Broad Bean Paste with Red Chili Oil is another standard option for preparing Sichuan dishes. Meanwhile, the Pearl River Bridge Preserved Beans is perfect for Chinese dishes.
Now that you are aware of the details of each of these broad bean pastes, it’ll be easier for you to make the best choice.
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