Chuan Pi Brand Broad Bean Sauce

I try many different Sichuan Broad Bean Pastes with Chili, which typically are identified, in genuinely Chinese products, by the characters 辣豆瓣酱 … this product, however, is somewhat different than those I usually counter. I don’t plan on buying it again, but I thought I would share my experience …

First, most of the Sichuan chili-bean pastes I usually buy are more ‘liquidly’ smoother than this very thick paste, and often more red than brown. Also, despite containing beans, these are not visually apparent in most cases but, here, one can see the odd whole bean… these are quite small  and black, and actually look like salted black beans as are commonly seen in fermented black bean sauce. The chili used is clearly dried chili and very large flakes of this are also apparent visually.

On tasting, the slightly ‘chocolate’ taste of fermented black beans is quite apparent, but the dominant flavor aside from chili (which is not all that hot), is a curious, albeit pleasant taste reminiscent of the aroma of pipe tobacco. It is salty, and the taste is nice, but it is the texture that I found not very pleasant …

 

To do a ‘test run’ of this product, I stir-fried cabbage with slices of pork belly and slivers of red bell pepper, I added a tablespoon or two of the paste and, while the overall flavor was very nice, I found that the large pieces of dried chili really detracted from my eating pleasure. They were hard, even beyond chewy, and really should have been added as smaller flakes, if not pulverized.

Like I say, this was not a bad product, as such, but I won’t bother with it again …

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