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Plucky's avatar

Does anyone know where (or what companies) I can get fermented soy products?

Asked by Plucky (10232 points ) June 20th, 2011

I mean products made from soy ..but only fermented soy. I don’t mean pastes/sauces, but actual food items (like jerky, veggie meats, etc).

I’m currently going through my soy foods and having a hard time finding out if the soy is fermented. I’ve been learning more about unfermented soy and it has me worried.

Thank you in advance.

:)

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16 Answers

aprilsimnel's avatar

Have you tried a local Asian/Japanese food market? Are there any in your area? Barring that, look online for tempeh, miso, natto and pickled tofu and the name of your town. The local purveyors should pop up.

crisw's avatar

Yep, your local Asian grocery should have enough to keep you in stock forever. But have you actually tried the stuff? The nastiest thing I ever ate was natto. And a local restaurant has an item on its menu called “Tofu of Strong Odor.”

I eat a lot of veggie jerky but I have never seen one made of fermented soy.

Tempeh made with soy is probably the closest to an actual food rather than a condiment and is actually edible.

Plucky's avatar

@aprilsimnel and @crisw I did think of the Asian food market ..and there are plenty in my city. I tend to stay away from them because I have a hard time dealing with the potent odors in those markets (the ones I’ve been to any ways). I’ve never tried fermented soy either. I was hoping to ..lol. I was also hoping there wouldn’t be much difference in taste. But it makes sense, as fermentation does change the taste (I was hoping for the better).

Tempeh was actually the one I was leaning towards trying. I guess I’ll have to check out one of the markets. @crisw by edible, do you mean taste good? Is all fermented soy strong in taste?

Thank you for the replies. :)

crisw's avatar

@PluckyDog

YMMV, but I think even tempeh tastes pretty strong (and I like a lot of odd vegetarian foods!). I only like it fried, which disguises the taste but makes it a lot less healthy! Tempeh kering is one dish I do like.

crisw's avatar

Oh, BTW, most health food stores carry tempeh, but it will almost always be in the frozen section.

crisw's avatar

I just sent this question to Kardamom as well, who writes the most comprehensive veggie cooking posts I have ever seen!

incendiary_dan's avatar

Not exactly answering your question, but have you thought of fermenting some yourself? I don’t know exactly what sort of fermentation process is used, but I bet some of it is lacto-fermented. I do some lacto-fermentation sometimes, and it’s pretty easy.

Plucky's avatar

@crisw Oh thank you. Cooking is one thing I did not learn well (and never enjoyed), so I’m trying to learn to make vegetarian dishes. Seriously, we don’t have a lot of variety in our household because neither of us have ever really cooked much ..nor do we enjoy cooking. I really want to change that though.

@incendiary_dan Yes I have but I don’t like cooking and I’m not experienced in it at all, lol (I am trying to change that). I would have no idea where to even start. What do you lacto-ferment?

incendiary_dan's avatar

@PluckyDog I mostly ferment vegetable things like kimchi. I plan to make some fermented ketchup this week out of some wild fruit I have frozen from last year.

crisw's avatar

@incendiary_dan

I think soy products are harder to ferment. Foods like tempeh rely on mold fermentation (like a cheese) rather than lactobacillus fermentation (like sauerkraut or kimchi). And most fermented soy products are condiments rather than foods as @PluckyDog requested.

That said, safe homemade fermented foods are yummy if you are looking to get more fermented foods in your diet. I just made my first homemade sauerkraut this year (it’s so easy anyone could do it; all you need are cabbage, salt and pure water) and will do kimchi if I ever get some nice Napa cabbage to do it with.

Kardamom's avatar

I don’t know if you have a Whole Foods market near you, but they carry tempeh, and miso (a fermented soy paste used primarily for making soup, but also used as a salty, nutty flavor in other foods like salad dressing, marinades and sauces. WF’s also carries a selection of veggie jerkies, some better than others and I don’t know if they are made with fermented soy protein or not. There is a fermented tofu, that my friend in Japan has told me about that smells really rank and you either like it or hate it (I would probably like it sense I enjoy stinky cheeses and the like, not sure what the name of it is, though, but it might be natto). We have tons of Asian markets in our area, and if you stay away from the fish dept. or the restaurants, you are not likely to encounter too much scent-wise. They usually have a boatload of different misos in the refrigerated section. Of course, soy sauce is also a fermented soy product, but it’s not like you can drink it, or use tons of it, because of it’s high sodium content. Bragg’s liquid aminos is a similar fermented soy product that can be used interchangeably with soy sauce.

As much as I enjoy fake meat, I personally do not like the taste or texture of tempeh. It tastes really sour to me and has kind of a weird rough texture to it. But a lot of vegetarians like it.

And like @crisw has said, there are other fermented foods, especially saurkraut and kimchee (which is any one of a hundred different kinds of fermented pickled vegetables, but mostly cabbage with chili peppers and it’s awesome!) You can make kimchee and saurkraut at home, and I love them both. Many regular grocery stores also carry jarred, refrigerated sauerkraut (Bubbie’s brand is especially good) and also a limited amount of jarred, refrigerated kimchee (but check the labels on kimchee if you specifically need something that is vegetarian friendly, most kimchee has fish juice or pieces in it. Whole foods used to carry a brand (who’s name I can’t recall, that had no fish in it, and it was excellent).

Most grocery stores like Henry’s and Sprouts and other specialty stores that specialize in produce, will likely have miso and sauerkraut.

Here is an online source for all sorts of fermented soy products.

Here’s a list of the major fermented soy products

faye's avatar

I tried a few ways to make tempeh edible and couldn’t do it.

crisw's avatar

@Kardamom

Natto is made with whole soybeans, looks like whole soybeans in snot, and smells like fermented sweatsocks. The smelly tofu is usually called fermented tofu. although I still like the menu description I noted above:>)

Plucky's avatar

@Kardamom Thank you so much for the information. :)

I did a quick search for Whole Foods markets in my area. There is one that’s not too far from where we live now. I’ve actually never been in one because I just couldn’t afford it and figured most of those places were health product/supplement places (trying to sell me the latest diet craze). And my partner is addicted to reward cards and points which these places don’t have often.

It will be interesting to see all the different food items – even if I decide against fermented soy (I think it may be too strong a taste for me). You’d think being a vegetarian for so long that I’d know all this stuff. But, sadly, quick and easy has always been my method of food preparation (a lot of times it’s just raw veggies/fruit). I’m one of those people, though, that have a hard time trying new foods. I’m not sure about pickled tofu ..but I may give some variation of it a try.

@crisw The link you provided, about Tempeh kering is no longer working – I forgot to save it too.

Thank you again everyone. :)

crisw's avatar

@PluckyDog

“I’ve actually never been in one because I just couldn’t afford it”

That’s why they are often called “Whole Paycheck!”

“The link you provided, about Tempeh kering is no longer working ”

Argh, there’s a typo in the address. Here you go,

Plucky's avatar

@crisw Thank you :)

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