Doubanjiang is a Chinese condiment, relish, and sauce that lends a complex savory flavor to Chinese cuisines and other cooking dishes. Due to its unique flavor profile, doubanjiang has become a savory staple and flavor enhancer. Since doubanjiang is associated continently with China, you can only opt for a doubanjiang substitute to enjoy a similar pronounced flavor.
To choose a closer doubanjiang alternative, you must consider the doubanjiang flavor profile, ingredients, fermenting period, and color.
So, know where and how to use your beloved substitute in recipes to get a broad spectrum of flavor ranges. That’s a reason we’re here to guide you this way. So, take a look and make your food recipes just out of the world.
Doubanjiang isn’t just a sauce for Chinese as it becomes a recipe workhorse that’s enough to make every recipe heavenly flavorful and umami.
Its salty, spicy, and deep flavor comes from the right proportion of broad beans, soybeans, seasonings, and spices.
The whole ingredient mixture is then subjected to a long fermentation period during which doubanjiang gets its complex, deep, and vibrant flavor. Moreover, the dark reddish-brown color of this captivating sauce is also a good consequence of long-term fermentation.
Doubanjiang is so legendary and versatile sauce that it’s available in two distinct flavor versions, one is spicy bean paste, and another is non-spicy. So, it’s a great choice for both spicy and non-spicy food lovers.
Here we have compiled a list of doubanjiang replacements, including broad substitutions ranging from hot spicy sauces to milder ones. So, let’s know them.
Gochujang is a decent doubanjiang chili bean paste substitution made up of an almost similar ingredient profile. It’s a delicious condiment that originally belongs to Korea but is available widely nowadays.
The worth noting similarities of both the candidates are corresponding vibrant color and finger-licking taste notes. The difference comes when we talk about its way of use in recipes.
Doubanjiang usually gives a spicy, hot, yet delicious finish to the recipes, while gochujang is mostly served as a condiment with recipes.
2. Sambal Oelek
Sambal Oelek is a perfect spicy bean paste substitute that is even hotter, spicier, and more flavorful than doubanjiang. So, if you are craving something terrifically hot, put your hands on sambal Oelek.
It is a powerful combination of red chiles, vinegar, spices, salt, and seasonings thereby offering a fiery taste kick. So, make your simple and bland recipes hot and flavorful using sambal Oelek instead of doubanjiang.
Douchi is another most popular Chinese condiment made up of fermented black beans. It’s easily available, flavorful, and fermented the same way as doubanjiang.
Moreover, douchi has a more pungent aroma and an intense saltiness than doubanjiang. So, keep an eye on the salt quantity in the dish where you are going to add douchi.
4. Korean Soy Sauce
It seems unbelievable to know that doubanjiang and Korean soy sauce are closest to each other and used interchangeably. The fact is that Korean soy sauce is a liquid left after the fermentation of soybeans and fermented soybeans then give rise to doubanjiang.
So, Korean soy sauce is a reasonable yet flavorful substitution if you cannot displace the final taste of a recipe calling for doubanjiang. Its on-the-spot availability while making a savory creation makes soy sauce an incredible choice instead of rarely available doubanjiang.
In addition, you can also use all kinds of kimchi and vegan kimchi substitutes instead of doubanjiang because both are fermented sauces and are also similar in flavor.
Substitutes For Doubanjiang
Where To Use?
Marinades, Soups, And Sauces
Side Condiment And Sauces
Condiments And Savory Sauces
Korean Soy Sauce
Dipping Sauces, Soups, And Marinades
Milder Doubanjiang Substitute
There are also some milder substitutions that you can use instead of doubanjiang in your recipes. All these milder candidates are flavorful and are perfect for people who are craving less spicy and fiery dishes.
However, spicy food lovers can also use them by adding red hot chiles to them.
Another Korean condiment that may become your best bet is doenjang. It makes its position high in this compilation just because of its flavor versatility. Put your hand on the most suitable version of doenjang that is also readily available to you.
As a unique life-saver condiment, doenjang lends a ton of deep flavor to your beloved food dishes. The one thing that should be noted is that doenjang isn’t much spicy and hot as doubanjiang, so must balance the spice level of the dish is using this substitute.
Ssamjang is a straightforward replacement for doubanjiang, well known for its flavor versatility. Note that it doesn’t finish a dish with a similar spicy flavor as doubanjiang, yet it’s more on the sweet side.
Despite its mild flavor, it can replace doubanjiang in many recipes after a bit of modification. Blend ssamjang with other hot condiments or even red chiles to get a decent and affordable doubanjiang substitute.
3. Miso Paste
Miso paste is primarily made from fermented soybeans, just like doenjang, along with a mold known as koji. It is the best replacement for doubanjiang because of its prolonged fermentation.
This extensive fermentation of several years gives a pronounced aroma, flavor, and consistency to miso paste. However, you may miss a hot spicy kick similar to doubanjiang because miso paste isn’t much spicy. Simply add red chiles to it and replace doubanjiang successfully.
Let’s try something different than doubanjiang but still offers a comparable unique flavor tone. Sriracha sauce is the best option to go with. It’s a vibrant, bright-colored, hot red chili sauce that is also popular in Chinese cuisines.
Its unique and balanced flavor combination of sweet and savory notes makes it the best and a distinct choice instead of doubanjiang.
5. Toban Djan
Although toban djan is not much spicy, hot, and pungent as doubanjiang, but still a good alternative. In fact, it’s a chili bean paste but low in spiciness, thereby an excellent milder substitution for doubanjiang.
The prominent flavor notes look like a blend of salty, savory, sweet, and delicious spices and seasonings. Hence, give your routine meal a twist of complex and deep flavor.
Tianmianjiang is a rich, darker, and thick condiment that’s readily available in Asian supermarkets and superstores. It is also a milder replacement for doubanjiang and is made from fermented soybeans.
Use it as-is in your recipes for incredibly delicious taste notes or after making it a bit spicy by adding red chiles to it.
Milder Doubanjiang Substitutes
Where To Use?
Soups, stews, and condiments
Dips and sauces
Salad dressings, and seasonings
Soups and stews
Marinades and salsas
Condiment for meat dishes
If nothing seems suitable for your savory treat, why not try a homemade version of doubanjiang. This way you can easily follow your flavor preferences.
At first, take some broad beans and soak them overnight. Next, drain them properly and steam them for about an hour. Let them cool and add koji mold to them.
Before subjecting broad beans to fermentation, add ferments or starters to the mixture and cover it. You can ferment this mixture for days, weeks and even months. In the end, add seasonings, spices, salt, and vinegar to the beans, and that’s it.
To sum up, there is a lot more doubanjiang substitute than those which are discussed here. Simply you can replace doubanjiang with any similar condiment and sauce that complements well with your savory recipe.