Doenjang Jjigae - Korean Soybean Paste Stew

Doenjang-Jjigae (Soybean Paste Stew) is a traditional Korean stew made primarily with doenjang, which is a fermented soybean paste. This hearty and flavorful dish typically includes a variety of ingredients such as tofu, vegetables (like zucchini, potatoes, onions, and mushrooms), seafood (such as clams or shrimp), and sometimes meat (usually beef or pork). The stew is often garnished with green onions and served with steamed rice.

The key component, doenjang, provides a rich, umami flavor that is characteristic of many Korean dishes. Doenjang-Jjigae is known for its comforting and satisfying taste, making it a popular choice for home-cooked meals in Korea. It can be customized with different ingredients based on personal preference and seasonal availability, reflecting its versatility and importance in Korean cuisine.

About Doenjang-Jjigae (Soybean Paste Stew)

Origin and Significance: Doenjang-Jjigae is a traditional Korean stew that has been a staple in Korean households for centuries. It showcases the deep, savory flavors of doenjang (fermented soybean paste), a fundamental ingredient in Korean cuisine. This dish is beloved for its simplicity, nutritional value, and heartwarming taste, making it a common comfort food.

Key Ingredients:

Doenjang (Fermented Soybean Paste): The star ingredient, providing a rich umami flavor.

Tofu: Adds a soft texture and absorbs the stew's flavors.

Vegetables: Commonly includes zucchini, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and sometimes radishes.

Protein: Can include beef, pork, seafood (like clams or shrimp), or can be made vegetarian.

Aromatics and Garnishes: Garlic, green onions, and sometimes chilies for a bit of heat.

Nutritional Value

This stew is nutritious, packed with proteins from tofu and meat, fiber from vegetables, and beneficial probiotics from the fermented soybean paste. It's considered a well-rounded meal that is both hearty and healthy.

In Korea, Doenjang-Jjigae is more than just food; it’s a reflection of the country’s agricultural heritage and culinary traditions. The fermentation process of doenjang is a time-honored practice that enhances the nutritional profile and flavor complexity of the dish. It's a common meal in Korean homes and is often prepared for family gatherings, symbolizing comfort and homeliness.

Overall, Doenjang-Jjigae is cherished for its depth of flavor, nutritional benefits, and its role in Korean culinary culture


For the Anchovy Broth:

  • 7 dried anchovies, heads and guts removed
  • 1 piece of dried kelp (about 10 cm x 10 cm)
  • 4 cups water

For the Doenjang-Jjigae:
  • 4 tablespoons doenjang (fermented soybean paste)
  • 400 grams firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 200 grams mushrooms (shiitake or enoki), sliced
  • 200 grams Korean radish (mu), cubed (optional)
  • 200 grams thinly sliced beef or pork (optional)
  • 200 grams clams or shrimp (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2-3 Korean green chilies or red chilies, sliced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes, optional)
  • Soy sauce or salt (to taste, for seasoning adjustment)


Prepare the Anchovy Broth:
  1. Rinse the dried anchovies under cold water to remove any impurities.
  2. In a pot, add the rinsed anchovies, dried kelp, and water. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes to extract the flavors from the anchovies and kelp.
  3. After simmering, strain the broth to remove the anchovies and kelp, leaving behind a clear broth. Set aside.
Prepare the Ingredients:
  1. Cut the tofu into small cubes and set aside. Slice the zucchini, onion, and mushrooms. Cube the potatoes and Korean radish if using. Set aside. If using meat or seafood, prepare them accordingly (slice thinly if needed).
  2. Mince the garlic, slice the green onions, and slice the Korean green chilies if using. Set aside.
Cooking the Stew:
  1. In a clean pot, add the strained anchovy broth and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Add the cubed tofu and all the prepared vegetables to the boiling broth. If using meat or seafood, add them to the pot as well. Stir in the doenjang (fermented soybean paste) and minced garlic, ensuring that the paste is fully dissolved in the broth. If desired, add the Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) for some spice. Allow the stew to simmer over medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded together.
Adjust Seasoning and Serve:
  1. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning with soy sauce or salt if needed. Garnish the stew with sliced green onions and Korean green chilies for added flavor and color. Serve the Doenjang-Jjigae hot with steamed rice and enjoy!

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