Mu Doenjang Guk (Korean Soybean Paste Radish Soup)

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Korean radish, mu (무), is back in season, which means it’s sweet and juicy! As the weather gets cooler, I’ve decided to show you another soup recipe you can make with Korean radish, which is a variety of white radish that’s with a crunchy texture. While the radish soup (muguk) made with beef broth is more common, we occasionally enjoy this doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste) based radish soup, called mu doenjang guk (무된장국).

Look for the radish that’s firm and heavy for its size by comparing similar size radishes. For this doenjang based soup, the radish is usually cut into matchsticks not thin squares as in the beef muguk. Don’t ask me why — that’s how we had it growing up! But, you can cut it either way.

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As shown in my baechu doenjang guk, I usually make doenjang guk with anchovy broth. Here, I made it with vegetable broth to show you a vegan option. Simply boil some basic aromatic vegetables, such as onion, garlic, scallion, dried kelp (dashima) and dried shiitake mushrooms — all common ingredients for making Korean broth. In this recipe, I thinly sliced and reused the boiled mushrooms in the soup, adding a meaty texture to the soup.

To make the broth for a doenjang based soup or stew, always start with the water used to rinse rice, ssalddeumul (쌀뜨물). 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. If you don’t have it, stir-in a teaspoon of flour or rice flour.

Also, I used a couple of dried red chili peppers when making the broth. This adds a hint of spiciness without gochugaru or gochujang. The soup turns out light and clean this way!

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Mu Doenjang Guk (Korean Soybean Paste Radish Soup)

5 from 4 votes
Servings: 4
Print Recipe


  • 1 pound Korean radish mu (무)
  • 2 tablespoons doenjang 된장 (Korean fermented soybean paste)
  • 1 green part of a large scallion
  • soup soy sauce or salt to taste
  • For the vegetable Broth: Or use anchovy broth
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 small piece dried kelp about 3 inch square, dashima 다시마
  • 1 white part of a large scallion
  • 3 to 4 plump garlic cloves
  • 1 or 2 dried whole red chili peppers or fresh hot chili peppers - optional
  • 6 cups of rice rinsed water ssalddeumul (or plain water with 1 teaspoon of flour or rice flour)


  • Add the water to the pot along with all of the broth vegetables. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and boil, covered, for 10 minutes.
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  • Cut the radish into thin disks (about 1/4-inch thick), and then into slightly thick matchsticks.
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  • Remove the aromatic vegetables, reserving the mushrooms.
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  • Thinly slice the mushrooms.
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  • Stir in the soybean paste, or run them through a strainer in the broth if you don’t want the bean pieces in your soup.
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  • Add the radish and mushrooms, and boil until the radish turns translucent and soft, about 10 minutes.
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  • Drop the scallions in, and boil for a couple more minutes. Add soup soy sauce or salt, if necessary, and pepper to taste.
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Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

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Recipe Rating



  1. 5 stars
    I made this as a side soup to eat with the Nokdujeon and it was a perfect addition to the meal. It is simple, but so flavorful!

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe easy to make and very good flavor

  3. I have just cooked this one and I’m in love thank you! ♥

  4. Hi, the soup is really good. I made it yesterday and was very tasty. However I’ve got a question. How to recognize whether or not the soup went off. I could not left the soup in refrigerator and today I’ve found out that it has some white membrane or something like that. I’m not acquainted with soybean paste and therefore I don know if it’s natural or the food is now poisoned.

    • Sorry about the late reply. Sounds like it might have gone bad. Best to keep in the fridge, or out on a balcony if cold weather out.

  5. Thanks for the recipe. Do you soak the dried shiitake mushrooms for 20 minutes first or just add the dried mushrooms to the broth and boil?

    • Just add the dried mushrooms to the water and boil. They will release the flavor while being boiled and get completely rehydrated. Enjoy!

      • I’ve just discovered your website and immediately tried the one for slow cooker daktoridang. It was delicious! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to more awesome recipes

  6. Hi ! just want to say i enjoy your web so much ! you explain everything in details, that makes it easier to understand. anw, i wanna ask. Can i replace the kelp with anything ? i’m having a hard time to find it. Thanks 🙂

  7. Hi, thanks for sharing the recipe. Am sure it’ll warm up our bodies in winter 🙂

  8. Hi! I just wanted to say I’ve been going through your recipes for a school project and they’re very helpful in helping me to learn more about Korean traditions and such. So, thank you, and keep up your good work!!

  9. thank you for sharing all these awesome recipes. I really enjoy the different textures and flavors of Korean cooking. I can’t wait to try the radish and fermented soy soup. There are many cook Korean markets in Sacramento.

  10. This simple soup is one of my favorites! Thank you!