The plant-based ingredient is a perfect substitute for oyster sauce

The plant-based ingredient is a perfect substitute for oyster sauce

Fermented red bean curd on a plate – Regreto / Shutterstock

There’s nothing quite like the taste of oyster sauce; It is rich, refreshing and exceptionally delicious. However, for those who follow a vegetarian diet or are allergic to oyster sauce, they may feel like they are missing out. Fortunately, one ingredient has received critical acclaim from two-Michelin-starred chef Andrew Wong as a worthy alternative: fermented bean curd.

You may have heard of Taiwanese soy paste being a great alternative to oyster sauce, but while fermented bean curd is reminiscent of some of these flavours, it is quite unique in appearance and taste. Also known as furo, or Chinese cheese, fermented bean curd can also include garlic, chili peppers, wine, and vegetables, all of which combine to create a meaty flavor similar to that of oyster sauce.

One might wonder how an oyster sauce substitute can resemble cheese. Surely they couldn’t be more different? Well, the answer lies in the umami taste. Fermented bean curd has wonderful layers of flavor that brighten and intensify the aromas in the dish – just like oyster sauce. Instead of feeling neglected any longer, pick up a bowl of fermented bean curd and see how well you replicate the wonders of oyster sauce.

Read more: 5 rice brands you should buy and 5 to avoid

Tangy umami goodness

Fermented tofu in a bowl

Fermented Tofu in a Jar – Full of Plants / Instagram

Furu, also written as fưrƔ or 腐乳 in Mandarin Chinese, is traditionally used in congee or as a condiment. However, the uses of the ingredient have expanded to be added to almost any dish to enhance flavour. Although it may seem like a protein substitute, one must realize that a small amount goes a long way. This is not your ordinary tofu and should be considered a seasoning agent only. Once you retrieve it from the jar, you can instantly recognize that the bean curd’s texture is smooth and creamy, and its aroma is tart and salty. Once in the dish, they seem to melt effortlessly into the folds, disappearing in appearance just like oyster sauce and leaving behind a taste that elevates your dish to delicious perfection.

How is it made? There are different ways to achieve the bright taste and texture of fermented bean curd. However, in general, it involves a form of firm tofu that is left to develop mold or become covered in fungi. It then undergoes a fermentation process using brine, rice wine and spices. If you’re a devoted vegan, you’ve probably asked yourself, is wine vegan? It is common for rice wine to be filtered through glass (fish bladder) or albumen (egg). For this reason, it’s best to double-check the ingredient list on a bowl of fermented bean curd to make sure it’s strictly vegan.

Its types and how to use it

Chili and fermented white bean curd

Chili and fermented white bean curd

There are many types of faro, from sesame oil to fermented chili varieties; However, two of the most popular versions are red and white. The red type, also known as hongfur, 紅腐乳, is made from red yeast rice, giving it a vibrant red and purple color. It has a stronger flavor than the white variety, prominently featuring rich umami notes with a touch of sweetness. This type of fermented bean curd will go great with pickles and sauces. However, it also works magic with water to create a delicious liquid for vegetables.

Fermented white bean curd, also known as 白腐乳 or báifīr, also works well in sauces, however its more traditional use is usually in marinating congee or spreading it on thin and soft Chinese steamed buns. Fermented white bean curd is a simple version of fermented bean curd, although some versions find it seasoned with sesame oil or chili. It has a lighter, milder taste than red forro, but its texture is usually firmer.

If you’re ready to make your dishes vegetarian, consider adding a little fermented bean curd. The unbeatable flavor will leave you wondering why you even wanted oyster sauce in the first place.

Read the original article on Daily Mail.

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