Gochujang adds lots of spicy, robust flavors to this simple stew made with summer zucchini and potatoes. You’ll love it if you like Korean stews.
This gochujang jjigae (고추장 찌개) with zucchini is especially popular in summer when zucchinis are abundant and tasty. It’s a family favorite!
Gochujang (fermented red chili pepper paste) is a condiment that’s spicy, savory, slightly sweet, and salty. It adds lots of spicy, robust flavors to this simple stew which is made with a few ingredients such as zucchini and potatoes.
You can totally make this stew simply with gochujang, but I like to add a bit of doenjang to add another layer of savory taste.
Variations for gochujang jjigae
For vegetables, zucchini and potatoes are typical for this stew. I also like to add chili peppers and scallions. Other vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, or Korean radishes (mu) are all great additions to this stew.
In terms of protein, I use clams when I want a clean, refreshing taste of the stew. Other times, we also love pork for a rich, meaty stew. Both very delicious different ways! Canned tuna works well too for this stew.
If using pork (or beef), preheat the pot with a bit of oil. Sauté the meat, gochujang and doenjang over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until the meat is almost cooked. You can add a bit of water to prevent gochujang and doenjang from burning.
To make it vegan, simply omit the seafood/meat option. The addition of tofu and mushrooms will be great for a vegan stew. You can use vegetable broth instead of water for extra flavor.
As with doenjang jjigae, I use the water used to rinse rice (ssalddeumul, 쌀뜨물) as the stew base. The rice water adds starch to the stew and works as a binding agent between the gochujang and the broth while enhancing the flavor.
Hobak Gochujang Jjigae (Korean Spicy Zucchini Stew)Main
- 1 medium zucchini - about 10 ounces
- 1 medium potato (2 small) - about 8 ounces
- 1 or 2 scallions
- 1 - 2 green or red chili peppers
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 ounces clam meat (fresh or canned) or pork (see note 1 if using meat)
- 1.5 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
- 1/2 tablespoon Doenjang (Korean soybean paste) or more gochujang
- 2 cups water or water used to rinse rice (ssalddeummul), water - see note 2. vegetable broth or anchovy broth is good too
- Cut the zucchini and potatoes into about 1/2-inch thick bite size pieces. Roughly chop the scallion. Thinly slice the peppers.
- If using meat, see note 1 below. Otherwise, add 2 cups of water to a pot along with the red chili pepper paste and soybean paste. Stir well to dissolve. Bring it to a boil.
- Drop the potatoes in and bring it to a boil again. Continue to boil for a minute or two. Then add the zucchini, clam meat (unless using meat), garlic, chili peppers and scallions.
- Cook until the potatoes and zucchini turn soft. Serve hot with a bowl of rice.
- If using pork (or beef), preheat the pot with a little bit of oil. Sauté the meat, gochujang and doenjang over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until the meat is almost cooked. You can add a little bit of water to prevent gochujang and doenjang from burning. Then, add water (or broth) and follow the rest of the recipe.
- The water used to rinse rice is commonly used in Korean stews and soups. If using, save the water from the second round of rinsing.
This recipe was originally posted in October 2012. Here, I have updated it with new photos, more information and improvements to the recipe.