In ancient times when people did not know how to preserve the leftover food, many culture adopted a process of trial and errors.
They had no idea about the concept of microorganisms, just that they understood that washing, cooking, drying and pickling the food with salt or sugar will allow it to be stored for longer time. They did all of this without knowing the science behind. Now in modern times we fully know that these processes actually reduce the water activity and so reducing the bacterial growth and hence preventing the rotting.
First fermented foods
In the West, fermented foods came to prominence through the wine, cheese, and yoghurt traditionally made by nomads, while in the East, an agrarian style of living led to the development of fermented grains or vegetables.
Kimchi is a fermented food made with vegetables that is unique to Korea. Koreans were able to create such a unique fermented food (kimchi document, ethnic) because of their 5000 years of agricultural history. There are 200–300 different varieties of kimchi in Korea, and kimchi was included on a list of the world’s top five health foods in an article published in Health in 2006.
Chongkukjang is one of Korea’s most well-known fermented foods. It is made by fermenting soybeans after boiling. Unlike doenjang (soybean paste), kochujang (red pepper paste), and kanjang (soy sauce), which require several months of fermentation, Chongkukjang only takes 2–4 days to ferment.
The fermenting agent is Bacillus, as most of the strains involved in the fermentation of Korean Chongkukjang come from straw.
There are also foods similar to Korean Chongkukjang found in Southeast Asia and South Asia. Some examples are douchi from Sichuan, China, kinema from Nepal and North-east India, and fermented soybeans from countries on the Indochinese Peninsula, including Thai thuanao.
Visit korikart.com for fermented pastes and sauces.