Saturday, November 7, 2009

How to make Soyabean Paste aka Taucheo

Most people conveniently buy soyabean paste from the Asian stores or supermarket theses days. This, of course, saves time and energy and convenient to our present hectic lifestyle.But the downside, is that it becomes a noticeable separation between the origin and the end product. What you don't know is when and how it was made, how it was treated and stored prior to your purchase.So much so that it is safe to say that many traditional homemade foodstuff are in danger of becoming a an invisible art. It has become our personal challenge since we started writing in this blog, is to collect as many traditional and family 'secrets' recipes for many to share. For those ambitious few who may wish to create their own pure homemade and traditional foodstuff , a classic recipe is presented here as start to our new challenge in this blog.

Teochew Ah Mah's Taucheo aka Granny's Soyabean Paste

2 cups soyabeans
6 cups water
1/3 cup sea salt

To make two cups of soya bean paste, soak the soyabeans in cold water overnight or at least 8 hours and drain. Heat a wok over medium high heat and add soaked soyabean to toast for about 30 minutes. Making sure the soyabean is not burnt and set aside to cool. Place the soyabeans in a paper bag and roll over with a rolling pin or a wine bottle, to remove the skins. Discard the skins. In a big pot, add the soyabeans with 6 cups of water. Bring it to a high boil and immediately decrease the heat to medium low heat to prevent boilover. Boil gently for about 2 1/2 hours or until soyabeans become tender. Transfer the soyabeans onto a bamboo tray lined with cheese cloth. Cover loosely with banana leaves and keep in a very warm place to ferment for 5 days. In a bowl, combine the fermented soyabeans and mash with the sea salt. Transfer the the soyabeans to a earthen or ceramic jar with a lid. After mellowing for a week, they ready to be used but it best kept in a refrigerator to turn into taucheo. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator and they will keep fresh for months.


  1. Yen,
    Not yet, but I have taken some photos on the Korean soyabean paste which I have started making since yesterday. I'll post a running commentary in the coming days on its outcome.

    P/S How's the rice wine? Tasted it?

  2. Uncle Phil,

    I just filtered out the wine yesterday because I need the pot for the next batch. The wine taste is nice not so sweet and not sour, and the Ang Chow have a very great fragrance. Thanks Uncle Phil, I can enjoy Ang Chow wine during confinement period.

  3. I think my mother used to roll the boiled beans in wheat flour before starting the fermentation. Also instead of sea salt she used salt water, the concentration being that an egg floats when placed in the water. Does this work before I give a try?

  4. Hi Anonymous,
    Did she boil the soya beans in sea water? I add the salt after the soya bean has been boiled and drained.


  5. thanks for sharing. Living overseas, couldnt find this tauchu so far even in asian stores. Should give this a try. love tauchu..

  6. Hi Uncle Philip, glad to know someone like you who has great passion to make food the traditional way, especially using fermentation. I started making soya bean paste on Sunday 20 March, using your recipe above. Use 500g of soya beans. Follow your method quite closely, except i only took out the skin of 3/4 of the toasted soya beans (very tedious work, that alone took me a few hours). Late night, i decided to leave about 1/4 of the beans with the skin on and boil them till tender. One question, why can't we peel off the skin after soaking them, as skin comes out much easier? I left the drained boiled beans on bamboo tray laced with very fine towel and covered loosely with banana leaves, under a very strong light (to keep it very warm as my place do not have much natural sunlight). Today is the 3rd day and guess what i saw? Found some whitish web-like thing on certain section of the beans. Have they gone mouldy? Do i throw them away immediately? Pls let me have your advice on the next course of action i can take. On a happy note, would like to let you know that I have made the 'Nian Gau, Ti Kueh' using your recipe (with brown sugar) and it turns out yummy. Except it is very sticky and abit difficult to cut and slice. Is that the way it should be? Can i leave it at room temperature and what is the shelf life? Looking forward to your advice as soon as possible - Wendy Ho from Singapore

  7. Hi Wendy,
    Sorry I didn't reply earlier as I was on my way back to Sydney when your email came. I was on a two weeks holiday in Ho Chee Min City and Singapore, I only arrived home yesterday and went straight to bed before opening my mail this morning. What is the colour of the mould? If it is black in colour throw it away. If it whitish you can add the salt let it ferments and matures in the jar. Glad to know that you are happy with the nian gau recipe. It will become firmer once it is left in the room for a day or two.
    Hope you continue to visit my blog.

  8. Hi Uncle Philip, thank you very much for taking the time to reply me. There is one black mould on the beans and there is a foul smell. So i threw it away. So sad. I am thinking of making taucheo all over again. Please advise what have gone wrong with my first attempt? Why can't i peel the skin after soaking, which is easier and also quicker? Could it be my place is not warm enough for the beans? After i have boiled the beans till tender, i drain away the water and let it cool a while before laying them on the fine towel on a bamboo basket. Is that correct? Need your advice on how to do a better job for my second attempt - Wendy from Singapore

  9. Hey Uncle Phil, is the banana leaf necessary during the fermentation process? I can get the frozen kind but it's very far for me to go to the Vietnamese store for them. If I can do without it, it would be good. Also, do you know if this process would make the fermented black bean sauce if I switch the soy beans for black soy beans?
    Thanks :)