In culinary world, there are a lot of cuisines which use fermentation material as its spices or condiment. For example, in Chinese stir fry method, usually use arak (rice, glutinous rice, or fruit fermentation) as spice flavor. Or France cuisine which usually use wine as additional (or maybe main) spice.
Fermentation is a biochemical reaction of cells in anaerobic condition. Especially in food and drink, fermentation means a conversion of sugar or carbohydrates to become acid or alcohol. Wine and beer made from fermentation process. Tea as we known as no-alcohol drinking also made with a fermentation process (to release chemical substance in tea).
At the previsious time, freezer technique to make shelf life of food was unknown; people use fermentation technique to increase food safety. Yoghurt and cheese is clearly example of fermentation food. Yoghurt and cheese use lactate acid as fermentation substance. In Indonesia, yoghurt known as dadiah. In Indonesia, coagulation process of tofu used fermentation product. In German, their famous sauerkraut is a result of fermentation of cabbage. In Korea, we knew kimchi, a mustard fermentation. Upss, almost forgot to mention, roquefort as France cheese :).
Terasi and petis is famous fermented spice and condiment in Indonesia. You’ll find it in spices cuisine which have an exotic smell. It only two option, smell make your appetite increase or maybe decrease your appetite :). Another fermented product, used as condiment and spices in Indonesia cuisine are soybean sauce, tauco, and tausi.
Another soybean fermented product is tempeh. A putrid tempeh use as spice in Java cuisine. Advanced fermented tofu also use as condiment. In Taiwan, there is food named cho tofu, a chicken porridge use fermented tofu as condiment. Because of it smells, you’ll can detect cho tofu food stall in 50 metre area ;). But, if you are moslem, don’t try that food, because it usually serve with thick pig blood or thick duck blood.Yucky! In japan, there is a food seems like “purid” tempeh, called natto. The aroma and the taste is so strong. It seems like cheese in aroma and consistence. hey, there are a lot of fermented product made from soybeans!
Vinegar is another example of fermented condiment. In west culinary, vinegar which have a large consume is wine vinegar , advanced wine fermentation with adding acid bacteria. Vinegar use as material to fermented another food material. Pickles processed used vinegar. Like sauerkraut and kimchi which mention in previous above.
Fruit fermented? In Palembang, One of big city in Indonesia, there is tempoyak, durian fermentation.
Hmm… talking about aroma and flavor, bad aroma do not always make us throw up, but bad smell can means delicious taste in cuisine world ;).
Original writer Bondan Winarno, adapted and translated by reog. Source KOMPAS.
SPICY FOOD NETWORK 18.10.07