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.




Japchae is one of the most comprehensive dishes in terms of variety of ingredients and a very popular dish on birthdays.

This is one of the best loved Korean noodle dishes by Koreans as well as by foreign visitors to Korea. The main ingredients are sweet potato noodles which are combined with a lot of different vegetables and meats. Japchae combines over 20 different vegetables with pheasant meat and was eaten by Korean kings and the royal family.

Korea was colonized by Japan between 1910 and 1945, Beginning in 1920, Korea underwent drastic changes under Japanese rule not only in politics but also culturally including food too. After 1920 Japchae, previously a dish for the upper classes, was commoditised and became available in restaurants dish using sweet potato noodles coming from China.

In 1592 Japan invaded Korea the war, we call Imjin Waelan, lasted for 6 years. When the war finished and Japan retreated, there was not enough food for the people also there was no palace left for the king. It was at this time that Japchae became very highly prized by the King.

There is a written record that two low class men, with power over many farmers collected all the ingredients and bribed the king with Japchae and then, the king knighted them. The other courtiers sarcastically called them the Japchae knights.

Speaking of which,

“Innocent if rich, guilty if poor”, is a well-known adage in Korea.

The Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics had been found guilty of bribing the former president, Park Geunhye. So, I guess bribery is still the route to power.


Kong-namul muchim (soybean sprouts)/substitute beansprouts

Kong means bean in Korean, Namul means edible plants.

Banchan (side dishes) are a big part of the Korean home kitchen. Kong-namul is one of the most popular side dishes and also one of the classic vegetable ingredients of Bibim-bab. It seems that Koreans started to eat this around 500 years ago.

Beansprouts are different to Kong-namul. Beansprouts are from the Mung bean. Kong-namul are sprouts of the Soy bean. We boil them and drain off the excess water then add seasoning.

Kong-namul muchim is an everyday banchan because it is inexpensive. The texture is crunchy and nutty and flavour of sesame oil. It is always served as one of the banchan in Korean BBQ restaurants.

In Cambridge, we have only one Korean supermarket called Seoul Plaza. In the past they used to stock a lot of fresh Korean ingredients but now there are less Korean and more from other nations. Kong-namul is therefore harder to find, so I thought I would try to grow it myself. Unfortunately, after two attempts I have been unsuccessful but I am still trying because it is worth it.

There are two versions of this Banchan, one is seasoned with a soy sauce called Guk-ganjang the other is additionally seasoned with chilli.

Another use of Kong-namul is as soup with rice. We call this Kong-namul guk (soup) bab (rice) and it is famous as a hangover cure. There are many restaurants that specialise only in this “hangover stew”.

Another famous recipe is called Kong-namul-bab which is a kind of very delicious Bibim-bab but seasoned with only soy sauce.

Kong-namul is a very good combination with Kimchi either in a soup or stir fry. I love this and I can’t stop eating it. My sisters wonder how I eat these all the time for weeks on end!

Kong-namul (soybean sprouts)

prepare and cooking time: 15 minutes

serves: 4-6


350g, 1 bag of soybean sprouts , washed and trimmed

Make saltwater

1 Tablespoon, sea salt

3 cups, water


10 leaves of chives , chopped finely

1/3 of carrot, matchstick, thinly

2 garlic cloves, grated

1Tablespoon, toasted sesame seed

1 Tablespoon, toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon, Guk-gan-jang(naturally brewed soy sauce for soup)

1 teaspoon, caster sugar

A pinch of ground white pepper

1 teaspoon, chilli powder (optional)


    1. Firstly, make salted water and set aside.
    2. Wash chives and peel carrot and 2 cloves of garlic.
    3. Chop chives finely and transfer into a large mixing bowl. Cut carrots into matchstick finely and grate garlic cloves then transfer them into the large mixing bowl.
    4. Rinse the soybean sprout in cold water 3-4 times, while washing the sprouts, discard the bean’s skin (like skin colour cap) and any floating or sunk the bottom of the soybean sprouts. Get rid of if you see any rotten sprouts.
    5. Add the washed soybean sprouts into the large pot then put melted salt water into the pot with tight lid on a high heat. Do not open until it boils (if you open it, there will be fishy smell).
    6. Be prepare a colander in sink to drain soybean sprouts water.
    7. Turn off the heat after boiling starts 2-3 minutes later (from the staring to finishing around 5-7 minutes).
    8. Pour boiled Kong-namul (soybean sprouts) into the colander. Don’t keep cooked soybean in water. They will be moisturised a lot.
  • Colling down around 5 minutes then transfer Kong-numal into the large mixing bowl and add toasted sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, Guk-gan-jang( soy sauce for soup) and sugar mix and toss well with your hand.  You can keep it in your fridge for 2 days. Don’t keep it more than 2 days, Soybean sprouts will go bad very quickly. You can substitute Guk-gan-jang for salt in this recipe but the taste is different.  


  • Substitute for Guk-gan-jang for 2 Tablespoon, dark soy sauce/ chopped 2 prawns, boil them for 1-2 minute
  • You can add cooked prawns, squid or lobster.

Gochujang Yangnyum

A teaspoon Gochujang Yangnyum over Dasima and cabbage rolls.

Kombu is the Japanese word for dried sea kelp and Dasima in Korean and seaweed including dried sea kelp is widely consumed in Korea.

This dish is a favourite picnic and party food  and you can taste at moderately expensive Korean traditional restaurants. If you want to impress your friends or party guests then this is the dish that you can make in a short time but it is a healthy and delicious vegan dish.

Gochujang is fermented chilli paste and Koreans often add some vegetable or cooked and chopped meat or seafood to make the sauce rich, less salty and taste to take another level of taste.

You can use this sauce for bibimbap sauce as well as stir fry.

If this sauce is spicy then add some tomato puree, for mine added 2 Tablespoons.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 people


You will need to buy Gochujang from a Korean supermarket or Amazon

For the marinade (Gochujang sauce)

  • ¼ cup finely chopped carrots, onions, yellow peppers, leeks
  • ¼ cup Gochujang, Korean chilli paste
  • 4 tsp tomato puree (optional)
  • 2 tsp grated garlic, toasted sesame seeds, chia seeds
  • 1tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4 tsp runny honey
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 145g canned tuna

For the rice

  • 300g cooked rice
  • 1tsp sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, chia seeds

For the vegetable

  • 5-8 leaves of cabbage
  • 2-3 piece of Dasima(Kombu)
  1. Drain the tuna in a strainer in the sink. Make sure to break up the chunks of tuna.
  2. Mix all the Gochujang ingredients and put them aside or keep it in a jar.
  3. For the vegetables, if the Dasima is thick then boil it for 2 -3 minutes, if the Dasima is thin then just soak in cold water for 20 minutes. When finished, dry out with kitchen towel. Place 2-3 layers of cabbage leaves on a microwave-safe plate for 40 seconds.
  4. Prepare cooked rice then add sesame oil, sesame seeds, chia seeds and a tiny pinch salt then mix them well. Put aside and cover with a lid or cling film.
  5. Spread a portion of rice covering ¼ of the cabbage leaf and just roll forward, pressing gently and tightly with a mat. When the roll is complete, press inwards at both open ends and wrap with cling film.
  6. Repeat with Dasima too.
  7. Leave for 20-30 minutes, before removing the cling film and slicing to serve.
  8. Scoop your Gochujang sauce on top of the cabbage & Dasima rolls.

Genius Soy Sauce


mixture ) and brine. The mixture of meju (freshly boiled and mashed soyben) is left for 2-3 months outside in the cold winter months in Korea until the liquid becomes black. The taste is richer and saltier, also the colour is much lighter than regular soy sauce.

How to use them

This is for seasoning soup, boiled vegetable called Namul and salads called Muchim .

2. Jin Ganjang (a mix of chemically produced soy sauce)

This mass produced  soy sauce is called Ganjang, Whe-Ganjang or Jin-Ganjang : It is similar to the soy sauce you see on every supermarket shelf

How to use them

They make a great marinade or can be splashed into stews or used in sauces for meat and vegetables such as, stir-frying, braising, marinating and grilling or dipping sauce.

3. Mat Ganjang or Jorim Ganjang  (flavoured or seasoned soy sauce)

This  is the most commonly used in Korean dishes. It is much less salty compared to regular or Guk Ganjang. This is regular sauce diluted  and boiled with  some vegetable and some dry fish and starch syrup or sugar added. It is easy to use in any Korean dishes for seasoning.

4. Sempio soy sauce for soup base (soba)  

There are many flavoured Soy sauces for cold noodles or Japanese soba. This Sempio brand which I got from a Korean supermarket in the UK  worked well  for my Genius Soy Sauce. Japanese Tsuyu Soba sauce is similar.

To make Genius soy sauce  What you need to buy is

Mat Ganjang 맛 간장 or Jorim Ganjang 조림 간장 (flavoured or seasoned soy sauce) and add Korean Sempio soy sauce for soup base 

You can use this sauce for  salad , in bibimbap, with pan-fried fish, pancake or as dipping sauce for spring rolls.

Why is soy sauce black when soybeans are not? In making soy sauce, protein from soybeans breaks down into amino acids. This reaction results in a black coloured substance.

Kimchi packet

In the right conditions, Kimchi bacteria will start to convert the natural sugars in vegetables into other compounds, such as lactic acid.

Bloating is a clear indication that bacteria are present inside the packet. Bacteria feed on the contents of the pouch and produce gas. Since this gas cannot escape from the sealed packet, it accumulates inside and causes the pouch to bloat.

Bloated Kimchi packet has been left in a room temperature since 4th of July, 2018 whereas the other one was in the fridge from the same date.

Kimchi is a living product. The bacteria (lactic acid bacteria) which ferment the cabbage (vegetables) to produce the kimchi are still alive when it is sold.  Part of the fermentation process is the production of C02 gas, which is harmless.

The more  sourer, the higher Lactic acid bacteria in the kimchi.

But the most important thing is, No matter how long you kept the kimchi in your fridge or in  a room temperature, the kimchi texture must be still crispy, crunchy and the flavour must be fresh sour, tangy and zing otherwise the Kimchi is gone bad (Don’t eat).



Kimchi fried bulgur wheat


I don’t like eating large amounts of food but I do spend the time to source good ingredients. Kimchi is the one of healthiest foods that you can eat. It is  packed full of nutritious  ingredients. We can use it as a seasoning. We can eat Kimchi as a salad, as a special gourmet addition to your recipes.

I love bulgur wheat. It has lovely pale brown colour, a nutty taste and most of all it is rich in plant based – protein and minerals. Bulgur is a light grain that is a good substitute for rice and is quick to make.

So here I made a balanced, healthy meal providing great, complete nutrition called Kimchi fried bulgur wheat.

They are really good, just try it!

It is quick and simple but most of all a super heathy meal.

Preparation time: 10-20 minutes

Cooking time: 5minutes

Servings:  2-3


  • 70g chopped Kimchi
  • 1 medium chopped potatoes
  • 1 baby courgettes
  • 3 baby carrots
  • 30g Romano peppers
  • 70g any cooked meats
  • 7 trimmed sugar

No pictures above ingredients

  • 70g cooked bulgur wheat,
  • 30g canned sweet corns
  • two poached eggs
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • A pinch of salt
  • A bit of water
  • Some herbs for garnishing
  1. Prepare all the ingredients.
  2. Add 1 tsp vegetable oil on a deep-frying pan, stir fry or cook the potatoes for 1-2 minutes and add one or two teaspoons of water if your need more oil.
  3. Add all the vegetables with cooked meat except kimchi with 1 tsp olive oil and stir fry for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Lastly, put the chopped Kimchi, cooked bulgur wheat, canned sweet corns, 1tsp sesame oil and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Try your dish and add a pinch of salt or white pepper if the food taste is bland.
  6. Poach your egg and then simply load up your plate.
  7. Sprinkle with finely chopped romano peppers, chives, spring onions or what ever you fancy with colours.