Romanizations have really made things a bit difficult when tracking down certain foods from the list. I cannot count the amount of times that I must have passed the jars of Doubanjiang paste before I looked into alternative spellings. My bad I guess. I’m still yet to find the Shanxi Extra Aged Vinegar for the list… so any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
Doubanjiang feels like a bit of an oddity compared to a lot of the other East Asian sauces and pastes from that I have done for this list. It’s pretty standard for soya beans of chilli to form the base, but I don’t know how many I’ve tried that actually combine the two. The end result is a mellow and slightly salty paste with a warm/spicy finish. Basically this seems to be to Szechuan cooking what Gochujang is to Korean food (which I bought years ago thinking I had gotten the correct spice paste… seriously this has been a long time coming.)
On it’s own, I could already tell that this is going to be one of those pastes that I am going to want to cook with a bunch of things, but for today I thought why not use it with some sweet potato noodles that I picked up at the same time.
It would appear that I essentially made a mash-up of Chinese mapo doufu and Korean japchae. I might have added a bit too much of the Doubanjiang for my husband’s sensibilities, but for me it just made this dish all the more moreish. I actually now understand part of the appeal of the mapo doufu from the most recent series of Food Wars – I could have very easily ate a second bowl of this… so will probably end up remaking this in the near future.