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A staple Korean stew made withfermented soybean paste, doenjang! Learn a few basics to make this hearty Korean favorite the most authentic and delicious way.
Doenjang jjigae (된장찌개) is a staple Korean stew made with doenjang (된장), fermented soybean paste. It is one of the most representative dishes of everyday home-cooked Korean meals.
Depending on the other ingredients added, you can make endless variations of the stew. This recipe is made with fatty pork, but you can also make it with beef or seafood.
Doenjang is essential in Korean cuisine, and every Korean home has it all year round along with other staple condiments such as gochujang (fermented chili pepper paste). Its deep, rich flavor is created by several months of fermentation and aging.
Doenjang is traditionally homemade, but there are many commercial brands available at Korean markets and on line. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find locally made home-style doenjang that’s sold at some Korean markets.
This hearty stew is my husband’s all-time favorite meal and my go-to dish when I want to make a quick satisfying meal. The distinct aroma of sizzling doenjang makes my mouth water every time I make this dish!
In terms of other ingredients added, tofu is typical in doenjang jjigae along with some vegetables. For vegetables, I usually use Korean white radish (mu, 무), zucchini, onion, and fresh green and/or red chili pepper. Korean radish adds flavor and helps create a clean, refreshing broth.
You can also add potatoes if you like slightly thicker stews. Mushrooms will be a good addition as well.
Tips for delicious doenjang jjigae
By now, you know Korean home cooks save the water used to rinse rice (ssalddeumul, 쌀뜨물) and use it as a stew or soup base. The rice water adds starch to the stew and works as a binding agent between the soybean paste and the broth. It also enhances the flavor of the doenjang. If you didn’t have to make rice, or forgot to save the water, add a little bit of flour or rice powder to tap water.
Use a small amount of vinegar at the end to make doenjang jjigae even more delicious! It will brighten the doenjang taste in the stew.
More Doenjang Jjigae Recipes
Doenjang Jjigae (Korean Soybean Paste Stew)
Servings: 2Print Recipe
- 3 ounces pork (preferably fatty pork) shoulder, or loin (or use beef, clams or shrimp if desired)
- 9 ounces tofu
- 1/2 medium zucchini
- 2 ounces Korean radish (mu)
- 1/4 medium onion
- 1 chili pepper green or red
- 1 scallion
- 2 tablespoons Korean soybean paste doenjang
- 1 teaspoon Korean chili pepper flakes (gochugaru) gochugaru
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 cups water see note
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- Cut the tofu and zucchini into about 1-inch cubes. Cut the radish into thin small squares. Thinly slice the onion and pepper. Roughly chop the scallion. Slice the meat into thin strips.
- Preheat a small pot with a little bit of oil. Sauté the meat, soybean paste, and chili pepper flakes, over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the water (or anchovy broth) and stir well to dissolve the soy bean paste. Add the radish. Boil over medium high heat for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the onion, garlic, tofu, zucchini, and chili pepper. Boil for an additional 5 to 6 minutes. Throw in the scallion and add the vinegar with a minute or two remaining.
- Serve with rice while it is still bubbling from the heat.
Use the water used to rinse rice, ssalddeumul for jjigae/stew. Originally posted in April 2010 and updated here with an improved recipe and new photos.
This recipe was originally posted in April 2010. I’ve updated it here with minor changes to the recipe and new photos.