Doubanjiang | Broad Bean Paste

Sichuan cuisine is famous for different  types of seasonings and spices. There is an old saying that  red pepper and Sichuan peppercorn are hearts of Sichuan cuisine. People interested in Sichuan cuisine will feel it in the kitchen.

Elaine is going to introduce the most common and important seasoning : Doubanjiang or also known as broad bean paste.

Firstly the doubanjiang in sichuan cuisine is broad bean paste which uses broad bean(fava beans) as the main ingredients rather than soy bean chili paste.

And we are two types of doubanjiang quite popular in China now. One is homemade red oil doubanjiang; this is quite popular in the housewives’ kitchen. And the other one is the famous Pixian doubanjiang. Following is a picture shows the two types of doubanjiang.

Doubanjiang--Chili bean paste

Only  people in Sichuan province use broad bean to product this type of chili paste. And there are people in other provinces of China use soy beans to make their chili bean paste with a misleading name Doubangjiang (soy paste) too.

Among different producers,   the most famous one is Pixian Doubanjiang  (Pi Xian Dou Ban)which is produced by generations in Pixian, a small area in Sichuan province. Due to the excellent water sauces and ancestral recipe, Pixian Doubanjiang has its unique flavor and enjoy a high reputation all over China even outside China.

Pi Xian Doubanjiang|Chinasichuanfood.com

Besides the famous Pixian Doubangjiang,  common people in Sichuan province also make their own Doubanjiang at home. The homemade Doubanjiang has a simpler process and also outstanding taste. I get two in my family: my lovely mother and my excellent grand mom. They all make Doubanjiang at home every one year since the ready Doubanjiang can be kept over years. Generally homemade doubanjiang is referred as red oil doubanjiang, which means oil is used in the process. Comparing with Pixian doubangjiang, homemade red oil usually gets a brighter color due to the oil used but the former one provides a stronger taste.  I have searched on online and find Pi’xian Doubanjiang on amazon: Sichuan / Pixian / Pi Xian Broad Bean Paste 16OZ (454g)

Doubanjiang

If you ever tried the following dishes, I guess you understand the taste of  doubanjiang.

Mapo tofu
Twice –cooked pork
Boiled pork
Spicy Hot pot
Chengdu Chicken
Dry fry green beans
Yuxiang Rou Si(Fish sauce pork)
Yuxiang Eggplant(Sichuan Eggplant)

Doubanjiang

 

Get a look of my Doubanjiang family.The big jar is made by myself this year! And I have to wait around 4 months before enjoying it. You can also purchase red oil chili bean paste in supermarket or on amazon.

Doubanjiang

 

I list the Homemade Doubanjiang recipe in case you may want to try to make it at home or get a further understanding about how doubanjiang is made. Since the large jar of doubanjiang I paste above has been planed for the following two years, I am sorry that the step photos are not provided now. I will try to get some in near future.

Doubanjiang | Broad Bean Paste

Doubanjiang | Broad Bean Paste

Homemade Red Oil Doubanjiang.

Ingredients

  • 100 oz. broad bean
  • 10 oz. wheat flour
  • 1 bottle of white wine around 500 ml, hard liquid please
  • 9 oz. salt
  • 50 oz. fresh chili pepper (choice the type according to your own reference)
  • 10 oz. garlic chopped
  • 5 tablespoons of mixed herb (Anise, Cinnamon, Bay leaf)
  • 20 oz. rapeseed oil

Instructions

  1. Soak the beans in boiling water until the shells become soft. And then peel the broad beans.
  2. Steam the peeled broad beans around 20 minutes with a wok and steamer. Cut into small pieces (around fingernail size).
  3. Transfer broad beans to a container and add white wine, set aside for 18 hours to 24 hours (avoid sunshine)until the broad bean becomes a little bit sticky. Sometimes this process may need two days according to the temperature.
  4. Mix beans with salt and wheat flour evenly.
  5. Cover the container with clean gauze and put the container under the sun shine and remember to turn it over every 24 hours. After two days, move the container to a shade place for another week.
  6. Capped fresh pepper and dry the water on surface in the air. Chop it with machine or by hand. (Not too small, with the size around 3cms)
  7. Add chopped garlic, fresh pepper, mixed herbs into the beans dried before. Cover with gauze again and dry under sun shine (usually need 3~5 days) until you can smell the flavor of garlic, pepper and herbs strongly.
  8. Add rapeseed oil into the container and put aside until the color of oil becomes brightly red. If rapeseed oil is not available, please replace the oil with other vegetable oil.

Notes

The real Doubanjiang is made from broad bean but not soy beans. And the tastes of the two types of pastes are quite different.

I strongly recommend eating it after placing at least 15 days (3 months are the best). The flavor will becomes stronger as the time goes by.

Make sure that your doubanjiang is soaked with oil. Then it can be saved up to 3 years.

 Doubanjiang|ChinaSichuanFood

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Comments

  1. David says

    Hi Elaine,
    I’ve been looking for that recipe for so long…I’ve been in Sichuan in April 2013 and discovered the joy of that paste on every little single Sichuan dish during my stay. I will definitely try your version.
    However, it will be very useful to have the intermediary steps photos…
    1) Are you boiling/blanching the broad beans first in order to peel them ?
    2) Is the wheat flour “all purpose flour” or “whole wheat flour” ?
    3) When you say “mix thouroughly”, does it mean we have to crush/mash the beans ?
    4) When we put the jar under the sun, do we have to cover it or not ?
    Thanks in advance for your feedback! Without it, I can’t start the recipe!
    Cheers from Belgium! David.

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi David,

      I have updated the recipe and with some of your question addressed carefully.

      Broad beans should be soaked so that you can peel easily and the flour is all-purpose flour.
      We do not need to mash the beans. But you can mash it if you like. The broad beans actually are cut into small pieces.
      For the cover with the jar, I recommend using a large gauze. The gauze helps the air circulation and prevents loosing too much water contained.

  2. David says

    Dear Elaine,
    Thank you for your irreplaceable and interactive help.

    - Why do we need to do step 2 when step 1 is already heating the beans? It is cooking the beans twice?
    - What is the result looking like after step 3? Should the wine evaporate?
    - Step 4: should the result here be “mushy”? That’s to say like a “miso paste”?
    - The 3 months waiting step is now missing in the recipe. Is it step 5?
    - I don’t understand step 6…

    Do you have intermediary photos to help? It looks so tasty! Thank you again.

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi David,

      I am really sorry that I cannot provide photos from my own since I have finished the making process and I have a large jar now.

      Besides the temperature returns and it is not a good time to make doubanjiang on my side now. But I will search some pictures on the internet to hope you understand what I mean.

      For your question
      -step1 helps you to peel the skin off easily and step 2 is to make the broad bean cooked and will bring a softer taste of the broad bean body.
      -not all of the wine will evaporate. Use your hand to grasp it and it feels like there are some smoothy liquid on the surface.
      _after step 4, yes it is a little “mushy”.
      _step 6 is to chop the chili peppers but do remember to dry the water on the surface.
      _Three months actually is in step 8 after you pour the red oil to the mixture. Half a month is ok and three months are great! So I shorten the time and longer time is hoped. I made my jar around 2 monthes ago and I am still waiting for enjoying it.

      Davide, I will send you some pictures via e-mail and hope that can help.

  3. David says

    Elaine, I have to thank you so much for the effort you’ve put into helping with this recipe.
    The best way to thank you, will be to do the recipe, and to send you some pictures during the intermediate steps and tell you how much I’m enjoying using the paste on all the dishes.
    I can start the recipe once the weather is hotter, for the moment it is the middle of winter, then I’ll start in May-June.
    A good understanding of the whole recipe was necessary. Thank you again so much.

    Do we use fresh broad beans (green) or dry broad beans (brown) for the recipe ?
    PS: I’m also looking for a big chinese jar to do this paste :-)

  4. Luc says

    I love this recipe, I’m trying to figure out how I can make it in holland when we don’t have any sun… Can you tell me what happens to the beans when they are sitting in the sun? Are they fermenting or drying? Or both?

          • Luc says

            Broad beans finally came into season here a few weeks ago, I blanched some, peeled their skins then submerged them in brine for 10 days, the result was a nice soft & sour bean… I mixed these with the rest of the ingredients in your recipe but a lot less wine since this won’t be evaporating in the sun. I’ve packed the paste into a jar in much the same way as cabbage is packed for sauerkraut and topped with rapeseed oil…

            The whole thing looks really promising, Theres a picture on my IG feed here: http://instagram.com/p/qGjdeFxPEO/

            I will taste in in a month :-)

          • Elaine Luo says

            Hi Luc,
            Thanks for showing me the picture of your paste. I agree that it looks really promising. Do you skip the sun drying process? If this works fine, then you developed a new and easier way than the traditional one.

  5. says

    I can’t eat wheat and it’s hard to find this paste in the store without it. Could I substitute rice or another flour instead of wheat flour?
    Should the broad beans (we call them fava beans in the USA) be fresh or dried? If I wanted to do this with soybeans, fresh or dried? Any other differences?
    I just love your recipes and site, beautiful photos!

    Ginger

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Ginger,
      Thanks for stopping by. If you can eat wheat, then I would love to suggest skipping it. Some people do not use any flour when making their own doubanjiang. Flour is not a must.

      And for the fava beans used for this recipe, they should be dried beans.

      If you use soy beans then it will come out to be another type of paste. In center part of China, people do use soy beans to make their daily paste. If you want to make the paste with soy beans paste, I can help to bring up another recipe using soy beans.

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Cj,

      Since this doubanjiang is considered as the soul of sichuan cuisine, there are many famous sichuan dishes calls for this paste.
      There are many recipes on this site calls for doubanjiang for mapo tofu, twice cooked pork and kung pao chicken.

      I list some of the recipes on the middle of this page introducing some sichuan dishes need the paste. Just check it and hope that you get some inspirations.

  6. John says

    Hi Elaine,

    Thank you for this amazing article. I ordered and received the Sichuan / Pixian / Pi Xian Broad Bean Paste 16OZ from Amazon, but I have a question that perhaps you can answer. Do you know how long this will last in the refrigerator? I couldn’t find an expiration date on it, and wanted to know how long I could keep it refrigerated without it going bad. Thank you in advance.

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi John,
      After using, keep the package sealed with a clip. It can be kept at least half a year since it is aseptic.
      My homemade doubanjiang can be kept around 2 years. So do not worry about the expiration date since the amount of the package is not that large.

  7. says

    hi, thanks for this recipe! i love to make such pastes from scratch rather than buying, when possible. this is for a very large quantity, correct? 100 oz of dried broadbean? so about 3 kg? does the wine completely cover them when they are cooked? can the recipe be made in a smaller amount?
    thanks again.

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Katherine,

      Sure this can be made in a smaller amount but this is not the right time (in China). Usually this doubanjiang is made in winter. We do not need to cover or soak the cooked beans with wine but make sure each bean is coated with wine. Yes the broadbeans have two layers and both of them needed to be removed. The beans in China is around thumb nail size.I peel the second skin off after soaking.

  8. says

    one more question – broadbeans (fava beans) sometimes seem to have two skins, the thin outer skin and then a second inner skin, so the actual bean inside is quite small. do you just mean the outer skin? (or maybe you use a different type of bean so there is not this problem). do you squeeze the soaked bean to “pop” the bean out?
    thanks!

  9. Adam says

    I can’t have gluten (wheat/flour) and am looking (desperately) for a replacement for doubanjiang. Do you think if I used rice flour instead of a wheat derived flour that this would still come out ok?

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Adam,

      Rice flour cannot be used as a replacement of all-purpose flour. If you are on a gluten free diet, you can just skip flour. The texture might be not that thick but there will be only tiny differences in taste.

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