Doenjang Jjigae (soybean paste stew)


Doenjang Jjigae (soybean paste stew)

This is a staple Korean stew made with Doenjang (fermented soybean paste). This is made by fermenting cooked soybeans (called meju) with salt for minimum of 1 year. Of course, nowadays, we can buy it factory made from any Korean supermarket but still many Korean family make their own Doenjang and it is really long process and takes care and is time consuming.


This is similar to Japanese miso but a quite different outcome. Doenjang is chunkier with some beans and has a stronger and more pungent flavour whereas miso has much smother, light taste. The strengths of Doenjang has many different versions due to length of fermentation and temperature.

How to make Meju

  1. In cold water (December), Wash soybeans and leave them in water for 24-48 hours.
  2. Boil them for 4-6 hours and drain water then, grind in a mortar to do not make too smooth.
  3. Make into a square and dry them for 2 weeks in the sunshine.
  4. Then move them into cool area and dry them for over one month (must to be completely dry)
  5. Move them in a warm temperature between 28-26 degrees and leave them between straw and cover with cotton for over 30 days and you will notice that some good white and yellow fungus.
  6. Wash them and dry them again in a cold temperature for few days.
  7. Add sea salt (minimum 3-year-old) in an earth ware pot and water. Put in the dried square of soybean paste and leave for 60 days.
  8. The dried soybeans square become used for Doenjang and the remaining liquid becomes soy sauce.
  9. Bon appetite if you have minimum 6 months to 2 years to spare.



Doenjang Jjigae (soybean paste stew)

                                                                       Preparation time: 10 minutes

cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Serves 4-6 people


Traditionally   Korean housewives save the water used to rinse rice 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 flavour of the Doenjang.

If you don’t have the water then add rice flour or potatoes to the stew.


  • 4 cups, washed rice water or pure water
  • small 20 or medium 10 or large 5, dried anchovies / optional
  • 2 palm size pieces, dried kelp
  • 4 Tablespoons, soybean paste
  • 2 grated teaspoons, garlic
  • 1 teaspoon, gochutgaru (chilli powder) or 1teaspoon gochujang (chilli paste)
  • 1teaspoon, caster sugar
  • 50g kohlrabi, medium dice
  • 50g courgette, medium dice
  • 50g potatoes, medium dice
  • 50g onions, medium dice
  • 100g tofu, medium dice
  • 1 medium green fresh chilli, slice diagonally/garnishing
  • 1 medium red fresh chilli, slice diagonally/garnishing
  • ½ stem spring onion, slice diagonally/garnishing
  • 50g scallops, optional
  • 50g squid, optional              
  • 50g mussels, optional

1.Wash vegetables and seafood, put aside.

2. Prepare vegetables

  • Cut off the steam and leaves of the Kohlrabi, (if the kohlrabi is big then slice it in half). Peel the kohlrabi, using a vegetables peeler or knife. Make sure to remove all the woody part. Slice the kohlrabi into like a steak/about 2cm, then cut into big matchsticks/about 2cm and then again cut them into a square bite size.
  • Peel potatoes skin and cut into about 2cm cubes like a bite size.
  • Cut the tofu and courgette into about 2cm cubes like a bite size
  • Slice diagonally fresh chillies and spring onions
  • Grate garlic
  • Cut squid and seafood into a bite size  if necessary

3. Broth

Boil 4cups of washed rice water or pure water in a pot. Put 10 dried anchovies and 2 dried pieces of kelp into boiling water. Skim off the forms if necessary. Let them boil for 5 minutes, Remove the anchovies and the kelp. (if you don’t use any of these two then just boil the water for 5 minutes)

4. Reduce the heat over low heat then dissolve 4 tablespoons of soybean paste into the broth. Let it boil for 3 minutes over high heat.

5. Add 1 teaspoon of gochutgaru and 1 teaspoon gochujang (optional), 2 teaspoons of grated garlic, 1 teaspoon sugar and add kohlrabi and onions. Boil them over high heat for 3 minutes.

6. Add potatoes, courgette and tofu. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, skim off the forms if necessary.

7. Add all seafood and let it boil for 2 minutes more and add sliced green and red chillies and spring onions on top and boil for an additional 1-2 minutes over high heat.

This is one of my cooking class menu.




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