Baechu Doenjang Guk (Korean Soybean Paste Soup with Napa Cabbage)

Baechu Doenjang Guk (Soybean paste soup with napa cabbage)!
Doenjang, fermented soybean paste, is a staple Korean condiment and used as a base for stew or soup. As with doenjang jjigae (stew version), doenjang guk (soup) is also one of the most representative Korean home cooked dishes. While the stew version is typically hearty, thick and pungent, the soup is light and mild and has more broth.
The doenjang based soup made with napa cabbage (baechu) is called baechu doenjang guk. In Korea, this soup is especially popular during late fall when napa cabbages are abundant since it’s the season for Koreans to make a large amount of kimchi for upcoming winter.

Baechu Doenjang Guk (Soybean paste soup with napa cabbage)!

Korean home cooks usually save the water used to rinse rice, ssalddeummul, and use it for this soup. The rice water adds starch to the soup and works as a binding agent between the soybean paste and the broth, while enhancing the flavor of the doenjang.

The hint of gochujang (Korean red/hot pepper paste) in this recipe also brings out the flavor of the doenjang without overpowering it. If you have this classic soup along with a bowl of rice and some kimchi, you have a meal – very satisfying one!

5 from 3 votes
Baechu Doenjang Guk (Soybean Paste Soup with Napa Cabbage)
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins

Doenjang guk is a staple soup in Korean homes. It's made with napa cabbage and doenjang (fermented soybean paste).

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: Baechu, Doenjang, gochujang, manduguk, napa cabbage, soup
Servings: 4
Author: Hyosun
  • 1/4 head medium size napa cabbage about 1 pound
  • 4 cups anchovy broth* or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Korean soybean paste doenjang
  • 1 teaspoon Korean red pepper paste gochujang
  • 1 tablespoon soup soy sauce guk ganjang
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 scallions cut into 2 inch lengths
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Make anchovy broth by boiling, uncovered, about 12 medium size dried anchovies in 6 cups of water (or water used to rinse the rice) for 10 minutes. Fish out the anchovies and discard.
  2. While the broth is being made, cut the cabbage into 2 to 3-inch pieces.
    Soybean Paste Soup with Napa Cabbage
  3. Stir the soybean paste and red pepper paste in to the broth, or run them through a strainer in the broth. The latter process helps dissolve the pastes easier and catches any big chunks of beans remaining in the soy bean paste. Add the soup soy sauce to the broth.
    Soybean Paste Soup with Napa Cabbage
  4. Add the cabbage, cover and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the cabbage becomes soft, 1o to 15 minutes. Add the scallions and garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add salt, if necessary, and pepper to taste.
    Soybean Paste Soup with Napa Cabbage

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  1. A little bit of everything says

    it’s always a pleasure to read about other countries cuisines. using the water the rice is washed in as a thickener is a great tip.
    the soup looks fantastic. thanks for sharing

  2. This looks so good, just the guk that my mom makes 🙂 I’ve been experimenting with korean cooking but haven’t made anything like this yet – I’m not sure my husband would eat it and I wouldn’t be able to finish it all by myself. I have been toeing over to the lesser known dishes though, so maybe soon!

  3. Wow. I have so much to learn from you and your beautiful blog. I had to follow you!


  4. I love doenjang jjigae in claypots. They are so tasty and comofrting when the weather is cold. Never thought of adding gochujang to it. I will have to cook this real soon. It looks so appetizing!

  5. Hello Hyosun, thank you so much for your kind words when visiting my blog, I am so glad I’ve found yours. I read your “about” page and I am in awe of your catering skills, feeding 100 people is a mammoth task! I love Korean food but I know next to nothing about it, so I will definitely visit often to learn as much as I can 🙂

  6. 5 Star Foodie says

    What a delicious soup, I love napa cabbage, excellent!

  7. I’ve been on a Korean food bender these past few weeks LOL Delicious, spicy and such a pleasant way to lose weight! This soup will be going into my rotation. Thanks Hyosun 🙂

  8. This soup is delicious and I love it. BTW, I would like to know aonori powder is made from what type of seaweed. I’m unable to find one over here in my country and would like to make from scratch. I searched in the net and one of the websites said use dried kombu.

  9. Made this today. It was delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe.


  10. I made this comforting soup today. It’s winter here right now, and I think it’s best time to have this because chinese cabbage is in season, means I can really taste its sweetness.

  11. Hi, can I replace anchovy broth with vegetable broth to make it vegan? Thank you very much and your recipe looks amazing.

  12. hi my name is james and i love korean food too. my parents are both korean and my grandmother used to makes out delicious korean food. even still she made us korean food teach us Gangwon Province cooking style . but i think for your soyben sprout soup i heard somepeople put dried seaweed instead of anchovies.

  13. Sheila Brown says

    Hi – What a lovely soup. Please can you add a print and save button to this page? Thank you 🙂

  14. Katie Sowers says

    This is my new favorite. I’ve tried using the doenjang in other soups, and didn’t seem to like it much. The combination and ratio of all your ingredients are like magic. 🙂 Thank you!!

  15. Do you have a good recipe for Oogohji Tang? I think this is very similar but I’m not sure.

    Thank you!

    Btw you are my goto for all my korean food recipes. Everything I’ve made from tour recipes is the closest I can get to departed grandmother.

    • I know what you’re talking about. It’s one of my favorite soups. Yes, similar to this but not the same. I’ll add that to the to-do list. So happy to hear you find my recipes the closest to your grandmother. The best compliment a food blogger can get!