Growing up, my refrigerator had a variety of unfamiliar jars. Some jars seemed to have no expiration date and would stay in my refrigerator for what seemed like forever. Others would remind me of my middle school science experiment. One such jar was bean curd, the fermented form of tofu.
Fermentation is a metabolic process by which natural yeast or bacteria endemic to the environment convert sugar to acids, gases, or alcohol. Bean curd is tofu that has undergone fermentation and then subsequently preserved in salt, rice wine, sesame oil or vinegar.
Studies show that fermentation of carbohydrates lowers the potential for carbohydrates to raise blood sugar. Interestingly, this blood glucose lowering effect has been found to persist even for subsequent meals, a phenomenon called the second meal effect.
Bean curd is a common condiment in Asian dishes because it packs a lot of punch. I show you just how much and bring back an old friend in the following clip called, "The Fermentator."
Try this easy recipe for pork shreds and fermented bean curd:
Higgins JA. Whole Grains, Legumes, and the subsequent meal effect: Implications for blood glucose control and the role of fermentation. J Nutr Metab. 2012.