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The 5 Best Substitutes for Doubanjiang

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Have you ever cooked with doubanjiang? This salty, spicy, and umami-packed paste is a key ingredient in many Sichuan dishes.

If you’re not familiar with it, doubanjiang is made from broad fermented beans, chili peppers, and salt.

It’s an essential component of dishes like mapo tofu and kung pao chicken.

If you can’t find doubanjiang at your local grocery store, don’t worry.

There are several excellent substitutes that will work just as well in your recipes.

In this article, we’ll share the five best substitutes for doubanjiang.

What’s Doubanjiang?

Doubanjiang is a type of fermented bean paste that is commonly used in Chinese cuisine.

It is made from soybeans that have been boiled and then fermented with salt and spices.

Doubanjiang has a salty, pungent flavor that is essential to many Sichuan dishes.

It is also often used as a dipping sauce or condiment.

Doubanjiang originated in the Sichuan province of China.

It has been made for centuries, and its production methods have been passed down through generations.

Today, doubanjiang is still made using traditional methods.

The beans are soaked in water and then boiled with salt and spices.

They are then left to ferment for several weeks or months.

Doubanjiang has a distinct taste and texture that sets it apart from other types of bean paste.

It is very salty and slightly spicy, with a firm, almost crunchy texture.

The paste can be used in a variety of ways, but it is most commonly used as a dipping sauce or condiment.

It can also be used to add flavor to stir-fries, soups, and noodle dishes.

The result will be a flavorful, slightly spicy dish that will tantalize your taste buds.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Doubanjiang

If you can’t find doubanjiang (spicy fermented bean paste) at your local Asian market, don’t worry.

There are plenty of substitutes that will give your dish the same flavor profile.

Here are the five best substitutes for doubanjiang:

1 – Gochujang

Gochujang is a type of Korean chili paste that is made from red chili peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt.

It has a strong, pungent flavor with a hint of sweetness and a thick, sticky texture.

Gochujang can be used as a condiment or ingredient in various dishes, such as stews, marinades, and sauces.

It can also be used as a substitute for Doubanjiang, a Chinese chili paste.

When substituting Gochujang for Doubanjiang, it is important to keep the ratio of other ingredients the same.

This will help to ensure that the dish retains its desired flavor and consistency.

2 – Sambal Oelek

Sambal oelek is a type of chili paste that originates from Indonesia.

Unlike other chili pastes, it is not primarily made from fermented beans.

Instead, it is made from fresh chilies that are ground into a paste.

This gives it a bright red color and a slightly different flavor profile.

Sambal oelek is typically quite spicy, with a blunt heat that lingers on the palate.

In terms of texture, it is relatively smooth, although there may be some small chunks of chili pepper present.

When used in cooking, it can be used as a condiment or as an ingredient in a dish.

For example, it might be added to noodles or rice or used as a dipping sauce for dumplings.

When substituting sambal oelek for doubanjiang, keep in mind that it will be significantly spicier.

Therefore, you may want to start with half the amount and then adjust according to taste.

3 – Toban Djan

If you’re a fan of spicy food, then you’re probably familiar with Doubanjiang.

But have you ever tried Toban Djan? This fermented bean paste is similar to Doubanjiang in both taste and texture, but it has a distinctively earthy flavor that sets it apart.

Toban Djan is also a bit milder than Doubanjiang, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for a less fiery alternative.

To use Toban Djan in place of Doubanjiang, simply substitute it in equal proportions.

The paste can be added to stir-fries, soups, and other dishes for an extra kick of flavor.

Plus, its rich color will add a beautiful depth of flavor to your dishes.

4 – Doenjang

Doenjang is a Korean fermented soybean paste that has a strong, umami flavor.

It is made by fermenting soybeans with salt and water for several months.

The resulting paste is then aged for additional flavor.

Doenjang has a thick, chunky texture and ranges in color from light brown to dark brown.

When used as a seasoning, it imparts a deep savory flavor to dishes.

Doenjang can be used as a substitute for doubanjiang in certain recipes.

When substituting, use half the amount of doenjang as you would doubanjiang.

This will ensure that your dish has the desired level of heat and saltiness.

5 – Chili Garlic Sauce

If you love spicy food, then chili garlic sauce is a must-have condiment.

This savory and fiery sauce is made from chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, and salt.

It has a thick, pasty consistency and a deep red color.

The taste is hot and garlicky, with a hint of acidity from the vinegar.

Chili garlic sauce can be used as a substitute for Doubanjiang in Chinese cooking.

Doubanjiang is a fermented bean paste that is typically used in stir-fries.

It imparts a savory, umami flavor to dishes.

However, it can also be quite salty.

Chili garlic sauce can provide a similar savory flavor without being as salty.

In addition, the heat from the chili peppers will add an extra dimension of flavor to your dish.


In conclusion, there are several substitutes for Doubanjiang.

Sambal oelek, Toban Djan, Doenjang, and Chili Garlic Sauce are all viable options.

Each of these substitutes will impart a unique flavor to your dish.

When substituting, be sure to keep the ratio of other ingredients the same.

This will help to ensure that your dish turns out the way you intended.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Doubanjiang

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes


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  • Gochujang

  • Sambal Oelek

  • Toban Djan

  • Doenjang

  • Chili Garlic Sauce


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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