Production line

Today we have been spending some time doing prep work for making doubangjiang, or chilli bean paste. My partner does the fun work and I get to help with peeling the skin from dried broadbeans and here, scraping the membrane and seeds out of the chillies.

After de-seeding, the chillies are left to soak in a salty water brine for several days before the prepared broadbeans are added.

Having made this style of chilli bean paste in previous years, my partner is going ‘off piste’ this year with his own version of the recipe.

If you would like to try it yourself, here is a recipe. The pictures will guide you through the process.

In a ferment


The brewed sake ready to bottle.
The brewed sake ready to bottle.

When I sat down to the computer today I saw the list of labels that TB was printing up for his latest batch of fermented beverages. This includes:
5 sparkling Plum Wine – a Japanese-style umeboshi wine where the fruit is left to soak in alcohol to impart its flavour.
8 sparkling sake
7 still sake
3 cider vinegar
1 red wine vinegar, ‘balsamic’ style.

It’s OK we won’t be drinking them all at once (and not the vinegars of course).

TB’s newest experiment is making sake, or Japanese rice wine. While it is illegal to make sake as a home brew in Japan, (but it is legal in Australia), TB found that you could buy the koji spores to start the rice fermenting, from a company in Western Australia. He is making it in autumn where the ‘correct’ time to make it is in winter.

Sparkling sake waiting for the taste test

If that wasn’t enough he’s also working on making his own soy sauce. So it’s not as pretty as the sake, but compared to his first effort this one is going really well. It even smells OK.

Stirring the soy beans during fermentation.
Stirring the soy beans during fermentation.

Now we just have to wait another 6 months to see what happens.