The other day, I had the sudden inspiration to try making a compound butter with fermented bean curd (fuyu). I make miso butter often because it has so many layers of flavor that make the butter suitable for many foods. I thought, since miso and fuyu are both fermented products derived from soy, perhaps making a compound butter with fuyu might work too!
The fuyu butter tasted better than I could imagine! It is rich, savory, funky, and so addictive to eat. Before we dig into the process of making the butter, let’s talk about fuyu.
WHAT IS FUYU?
Fuyu (腐乳) is soybean curd or tofu that’s fermented in a salty brine with wine and other seasonings. In Mandarin, this fermented bean curd is known as furu; in Vietnamese, it’s called chao. Because fuyu is fermented in a salty brine, it has a pungent salty flavor. There’s also hints of sweetness and a funky flavor that’s almost sour (essentially what you’d expect from fermented foods).
All these layers of flavor combine to make fuyu an umami powerhouse. Furthermore, the creamy texture of fuyu, which some people compare to soft cheeses, makes fuyu very suitable for cooking. My mom generally uses fuyu to stir fry vegetables, such as yam leaves or yardlong beans. My grandmother also taught me to add sugar to a fuyu cube and spread that over rice, like a condiment.
You can usually find many varieties of fuyu in Asian grocery stores, particularly ones that sell Chinese groceries. They’re also available on grocery sites like Say Weee! or Yamibuy (search for “fermented bean curd”).
HOW TO MAKE FUYU BUTTER
Mix softened butter with fermented bean curd using a stand or handheld mixer. The amount of fuyu you use depends on your personal taste and the variety of fuyu you have on hand.
When developing this recipe, I used AFC brand’s (美美) plain white beancurd. There is no spice in this version, but feel free to use spicy fuyu, if you like. There are also a variety of fermented bean curd that’s soaked in a burgundy-colored liquid known as 南乳 (namyu in Cantonese, nanru in Mandarin).
Because I love the flavor of fuyu, I used 4 blocks of fuyu, which is nearly 2 tablespoons. If you’ve never used fuyu before, I recommend starting with 1 tablespoon of fuyu. Taste the fuyu and add more gradually (1 teaspoon at a time) to suit your taste.
For something extra, add chopped chives to the butter. You can also use sliced scallions or any other herbs that you like.
HOW LONG DOES THE FUYU BUTTER KEEP?
Store any leftover fuyu butter in a container and refrigerate. Try to use the butter within 7 days.
HOW DO YOU STORE FERMENTED BEAN CURD?
Once you open a jar of fuyu, store it in the refrigerator. Don’t drain the brine inside the jar. Make sure to use clean utensils when you remove the fuyu from the jar because you don’t want bad bacteria to build up inside. Fuyu should keep in the refrigerator for a year, provided that you handle the fuyu properly. Note that fuyu can oxidize. As a result, some of the fuyu cubes will start to turn gray, particularly the layer that’s nearest the top of the jar. Don’t be alarmed by the discoloration–it’s normal.
Fuyu Butter (Compound Butter with Fermented Bean Curd)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 to 2 tablespoons plain white fermented bean curd
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
- Add the butter and fermented bean curd to the bowl of a stand mixer. If you've never used fuyu before, start with 1 tablespoon of it. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on low for a minute. Taste the fuyu butter and add more fuyu, if desired. I usually use 4 fuyu cubes, which is just about 2 tablespoons of fuyu.
- Add the chives and mix on low again until the chives are well incorporated.
- Slather the fuyu butter on sliced bread or crackers. You can also use the butter to flavor blanched or roasted vegetables or my air fryer eggplant (subbing the butter for the miso sauce)! I loved using the fuyu butter to flavor Brussels sprouts. Refrigerate any leftover fuyu butter and use it within a week.