many east asian dishes included some ready made sauce like 豆瓣酱 or 柱侯酱 in chinese cuisines or 고추장 in korean cuisine. These sauces make our dishes delicious but unfortunately they are very high in salt and/or sugars. Is there some way to make the dishes with these sauces from scratch or without such high salt/sugar? We often have to add sugar in the dish in addition to the sauces. Thanks.

I’m sure this is a similar problem in other cuisines but my question is just about east asian cuisines.

edit: i’m referring to homemade food, not restaurant food.

  • @[email protected]
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    92 months ago

    Professionally cooked western food also uses a lot of sugar and salt - especially frozen foods. Sugar is really fucking addictive so eating high sugar foods regularly will lower how much sweetness you’ll get from it - this sounds especially relevant if you’re directly adding sugar in addition to the sauce.

    Sugar and salt both have very negative side effects if over consumed but a moderate amount of them is fine. I’d suggest trying to scale back the total sweetness to whatever level you can tolerate without it becoming bland and use more flavored spices to make up the difference. Additionally, not all sugars are created equal and it might benefit you to try switching off of refined sugar to one of the alternative sugars so that your body can more easily process your sweeteners.

    Opinions may vary but I think it’s incorrect to try to completely eliminate sweeteners from your diet, usually I’ve seen people suffer from extreme cravings that drive them to occasionally binge eat candy before returning to a “sugar free” lifestyle. It’s important to respect yourself and allow for moderation rather than trying to cold turkey yourself. Duck sauce is extremely sweet but having a small quantity of meat smothered in duck sauce among an otherwise balanced meal can be a nice and reasonable treat.

    • @Pat12OP
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      2 months ago

      Many western foods made at home can easily made with less salt and rarely require sugar to be added.

      I can’t reduce the salt or sugar in the premade sauces that are required in east asian dishes. I don’t know what duck sauce is but we don’t eat that in asia; it’s also a condiment and not a required ingredient in our dishes like fermented bean paste

      this sample recipe for taiwanese spicy beef soup which is a classic taiwanese dish as you can see requires both rock sugar and salt to be added to the already salt doubanjiang: https://seonkyounglongest.com/taiwanese-beef-noodle-soup/

      • @daddybutter
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        102 months ago

        Duck sauce is a name that was adapted in American Chinese cooking. The original product, which is used in Asia (particularly known with Canto food), is plum sauce. Same thing, though you may get a slightly different product depending on where it was made.

      • @just_another_person
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        2 months ago

        There’s a huge difference between using salt and sugars, and adding TOO MUCH of them. Just cutting the suggested amount added in half gets you closer to what you’re asking for. As for the premade stuff, just add less, or dilute them a bit maybe.

        • @Pat12OP
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          12 months ago

          I think you were the only one who understood my question

          Cutting down on the sauces is a good alternative and what I’m doing in the meantime; unfortunately I think these sauces are heavy contributors to the flavour of the dish so the result is the flavour is kinda weak in the dish. Doubanjiang or gochujang for example are staples of the respective Asian cuisines and dishes.

          • @angrystego
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            52 months ago

            I think some kind of food is just not designed to be healthy. It was made to be tasty without thinking about health. You can either make it more healthy and less tasty or you can eat it less often (as a treat).

            • @Pat12OP
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              12 months ago

              I think some kind of food is just not designed to be healthy. It was made to be tasty without thinking about health. You can either make it more healthy and less tasty or you can eat it less often (as a treat).

              yep, that’s true. our typical dishes are actually not much meat and have a lot of vegetables like water spinach dishes

  • @[email protected]
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    92 months ago

    Look up the recipes from 100 years ago or more. They will have less sugar because it wasn’t as common.

    YouTube has many people posting videos of keto dishes, head bangers kitchen is great. They remove all of the sugar from the dish. Or they remake in the traditional way. They give you step by step instructions

  • PrivateNoob
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    52 months ago

    Most probably you need soy sauce for asian dishes. Luckily there are a bunch of soy types. Maybe you could check out sweet soy sauces, perhaps those have lower sodium content.

      • @Bennettiquette
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        42 months ago

        are you by chance an enterprising individual? it sounds like you’ve stumbled onto an underserved and untapped market: healthier alternatives to traditional base ingredients. i’d be very surprised if there were not methods waiting to be discovered for prepping bean paste, fish sauce, doubanjiang etc in more health-conscious ways. the question is, who can combine culinary expertise, fermentation knowledge, cultural respect and a drive to innovate?

        • @Pat12OP
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          22 months ago

          i’d be very surprised if there were not methods waiting to be discovered for prepping bean paste, fish sauce, doubanjiang etc in more health-conscious ways.

          i think the problem is all of these pastes are fermented and i at least don’t know how to ferment something without using a lot of salt. even make your own doubanjiang paste will tell you to use a lot of salt to ferment the beans

          • @Bennettiquette
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            22 months ago

            i don’t know either, but i do know that with the kimchi and kombucha trend train taking over the west, learning about fermentation should be much more accessible. maybe there are some creative alternative prep methods, like pairing less salt with celery juice, or even seaweed - or starting with leftover whey/brine from a previous fermentation. if i were you i’d try a deep focused dive on fermentation methods around the world and experiment. hope you figure something out and when you do, brand it and revolutionize cuisine!

  • Rentlar
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    42 months ago

    The Lemmy answer is beans. Japanese food I know, but also Korean and Chinese food use beans in every which way which taste great.

  • @[email protected]
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    22 months ago

    I don’t really know anything about cooking Asian food past a curry, but in general I tend to just skip out on unhealthy stuff I won’t miss when I cook at home for my family.

    For example, if I was making barbecue chicken for a gathering, I’d use a good amount of brown sugar for a nice caramelization and depth of flavor. I made it at home for myself last week, however, and just didn’t add the sugar. Was it worse? Sure, a little, but I likely wouldn’t have noticed if you didn’t tell me and it’s one less meal full of sugar.

    I am trying to train myself that not every meal I make has to be a treat, and that sometimes just being healthy and filling is enough.

    • @PlantJam
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      22 months ago

      Going a different direction with the flavors is another option. Lemon pepper chicken instead of barbecue chicken, or a vinaigrette dressing instead of a cream sauce. Some of these alternate recipes still have plenty of intense flavors without being as intense on the calories.

      • @Pat12OP
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        32 months ago

        This doesn’t really answer my question, these sauces are staples/basics in Asian dishes, we cannot just eliminate entire categories of dishes

        • @PlantJam
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          22 months ago

          Sorry, it was more of a response to the parent comment than your original question.

  • @[email protected]
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    12 months ago

    You could maybe sub half the doubianjiang with low sodium miso, its not an exact subsitute but i figure it’ll still provide that strong flavor you want

    • @Pat12OP
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      12 months ago

      hmm this may be an option, thank you! can’t find low sodium for other pastes