Fermented soy beans are one of traditional condiments in China. Thanks to the high nutritional value they come with, there are tons of different brands available out there, among which the most popular ones are mainly from Yangjiang and Yongchuan. Similarly, there are various fermented soy foods available because fermented soybeans are pretty versatile and suitable for steaming, frying, and mixing on cooking. Besides serving as condiment sauce they work well with both meat and vegetable too. What’s more, they can be used medicinally. In TCM thy are commonly known as Dan Dou Chi.
What are fermented soy beans?
Also known as Semen Sojae Preparatum in Latin, fermented soybean means the fermented soy products of the mature seeds from Glycine max (L.) Merr., which is a species of legume native to East Asia. In China the soya bean plants grow across the country. Before the use, it is usually dried first in the sun and used in the unprocessed form. Prepared soybean is oval, slightly flat, 0.6 to 1cm long, and 0.5 to 0.7 in diameter. Surface is black, with rough shrinking. It is soft and with brownish-black section. It smells pleasantly and tastes slightly sweet.
For the medicinal purpose, the processing procedure would be a little bit complicated. First decoct Sang Ye (White Mulberry Leaf) and Qing Hao (Wormwood), blend the decoction well with cleaned soybeans, place them into a steamer right after the decoction is well absorbed, dry them in the sun when they are done, put them in a container and cover them with the decocted mulberry leaves and wormwood, leave them to ferment at the temperature of 25 ℃ ~ 28 ℃ and relative humidity of 80%, take them out when the container is coated with a layer of yellow material above, remove the dregs, add appropriate amount of water and stir, put them into the container again, leave them for fermentation at 50 ℃ ~ 60 ℃, continue for 15 to 20 days to allow to be fully fermented, take them out once there is aroma escape, and then slightly steam and dry. And that’s it.
It contains 19.5% protein, 6.9% fat, 25% carbohydrate, 0.07mg/100g vitamins B1, 0.34mg/100g vitamin B2, 2.4mg/100g niacin, calcium, iron, phosphorus salts, amino acids, and enzymes. And it is said that tetramethylpyrazine was isolated from this herb.
Benefits of fermented soy beans
There are lots of fermented soy benefits on both food preparation and medical application. Now we are going to discuss what health benefits this herb can give to us from these two aspects.
1. It has weak sweating effect.
2. It invigorates the stomach and promotes digestion.
Recommended foods with soy
Thanks to their richness in soy protein, soya beans are made into tofu, soy milk, and soy powder to maximize the soy health benefits. Compared to animal proteins, soy proteins not only have higher nutritional value but also contain no cholesterol. What’s more, their unique physiologically active substance, called isoflavones, can lower cholesterol too. And the follows are the most common recipes for your reference.
Fermented soybean steaming crucian carp
Ingredients: Fermented soybeans 30g, crucian carp 200g, and sugar 30g
Health benefits: clearing heat and removing toxicity and inducing diuresis and reducing edema
Directions: 1. Wash, scale and eviscerate the fish, put it into a steaming tray, and then sprinkle the fish with cooking wine and all the rest ingredients. 2. Steam the fish for 20 minutes on high heat.
Fermented soybean eggplant
Ingredients: 2 eggplant, basil 20g, pepper 10g, ginger 10g, sunflower oil 1 tablespoon, fermented soybeans 20g, granulated sugar 1/2 bouillon spoon, a little salt, and a little bit MSG.
Directions: 1. Wash the basil and pick the young leaves. Clean and slice the pepper and ginger. And then set them aside. 2. Wash eggplant, remove both ends and cut them into sections. Heat the oil to the temperature at about 160 ℃, put in eggplant to fry till slightly softened, and then set the fried eggplant aside. 3. Heat the pan and pour in sunflower oil, put in and stir-fry the ingredients, one at a time, of ginger, fermented soy bean, pepper, and eggplant. 4. Put in all the seasoning and appropriate amount of water and then stir.
Popular fermented soybeans related Chinese herbal formulas
From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is viewed as bitter, acrid, and cool in properties. And it covers lung and stomach meridians. Its primary function is to relieve exterior syndrome and restlessness and disperse stagnated heat. Main fermented soy uses and indications include colds, chills and fever, headache, irritability, chest tightness, and trouble sleeping. Usual decoction dosage is from 6 to 12 grams.
Yin Qiao San
Yin Qiao San comes from Wen Bing Tiao Bian (Systematic Differentiation of Warm Disease). This formula is mainly formulated for wind-heat type common cold or early stage in epidemic febrile disease, manifesting as fever, slight aversion to wind and cold, headache, thirst, sore throat, and so on. The rest major herbal ingredients are Jin Yin Hua (Honeysuckle Flower), Lian Qiao (Forsythia), Bo He (Field Mint), and Niu Bang Zi (Burdock).
Cong Chi Tang
Cong Chi Tang comes from Bu Que Zhou Hou Fang (Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies). This prescription is primarily made for the beginning of common cold due to wind-cold, including symptoms like chills, fever, no sweat, headache, nasal congestion, and so on. As its name suggested, the other herb is Cong Bai (Green onion).
Zhi Zi Chi Tang
Zhi Zi Chi Tang is from Shang Han Lun (On Cold Damage). This formula is basically for externally contracted heat disease and stagnated heat in the chest, including symptoms like annoyance, dysphoria with smothery sensation, and wakefulness. As you can see, another herb is Zhi Zi (Gardenia).
Potential fermented soy beans side effects and contraindications
So, is fermented soy safe enough to consume on daily basis? As you may know, it is pretty safe since it has been consumed as the naturally fermented soy sauce for thousands of years in China. TCM wise, Dan Dou Chi should be used with care in the case of gastric asthenia that is squeamish.