Doenjang Jjigae is one of the most classic comfort foods in Korean cuisine that is quick and easy to make, yet packed with bold flavors. This hearty and delicious soybean paste soup will instantly warm you up on a cold day, and tastes just like the ones served in K-BBQ restaurants!
What is Doenjang Jjigae?
Doenjang Jjigae (된장찌개), also known as soybean paste soup or soy bean paste stew, is one of my all-time favorite Korean dishes to make all year round thanks to its rich and comforting taste.
This traditional Korean stew is made with a base of Doenjang, which is a thick brown paste made from fermented soybeans and salt.
The flavors of Doenjang are similar to miso paste as it uses fermented soybeans as the main ingredient, but Korean soy bean paste is much thicker and chunkier in consistency and has a much saltier, funkier flavor than miso.
Packed with rich umami flavors, Korean soybean paste is one of the most essential ingredients in Korean cuisine that is primarily used to add a layer of depth to soups and stews, or to make a dipping sauce to serve with various types of meats.
Korean soy bean paste stew is also one of the healthiest dishes in Korean cuisine that is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals as it calls for a multitude of vegetables, tofu, and mushrooms as its primary ingredients.
Paired with a bowl of steamed rice and kimchi, it is truly one of the most nourishing and comforting meals you can make with just a handful of ingredients.
Although there are slight variations in which different home cooks prepare their Doenjang Jjigae, this recipe will create an ultra-rich and savory stew with a little kick of spice, similar to the ones served in Korean BBQ restaurants.
Its bold flavors make it to be the perfect standalone dish but also makes for an incredible addition to your K-BBQ sessions. Served in a hot stone bowl, it is truly one of the most comforting meals you can make during the colder months.
What do I need to make Doenjang Jjigae?
One of the best parts about this Doenjang Jjigae recipe is that it calls for pantry staples and simple ingredients from your kitchen to put together.
Here are all the ingredients you will need for this recipe:
- Anchovy stock or dashi: as the base stock. Using stock will yield the most flavorful results as it adds another layer of umami to your stew.
- Korean anchovy stock is incredibly easy to make using these convenient soup base packs, which are made in the form of teabags to add to your pot of water.
- Its umami flavors will instantly form a flavorful base for your soups and stews, and takes less than 10 minutes to brew.
- If you don’t have any anchovy soup stock at hand, dashi stock or unsalted chicken broth or vegetable broth also make for great alternatives to add flavor to your stew.
- Onion, zucchini, green onion, and chili pepper: for the main vegetables.
- Other popular additions include Korean radish, potatoes, spinach, or soybean sprouts. The flavors of this stew is incredibly versatile, so feel free to add any other vegetables that you think would pair well with this dish.
- Mushrooms and tofu: for the protein.
- Soybean stew is traditionally vegetarian as the Doenjang has a sufficient amount of umami to make up for its rich, flavorful taste, but you can also add in some meat or seafood if you prefer.
- Thinly sliced beef or pork are great options to add to your stew as they cook within a few seconds after being added to the pot.
- Doenjang (Korean soybean paste), Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), and garlic: to season the stew.
And that’s it! All the ingredients you need to make your own homemade Doenjang Jjigae.
As mentioned above, the flavors of this stew are incredibly versatile, so please feel free to add or substitute the ingredients based on your personal preference and the ingredients you have at hand.
How do you serve Doenjang Jjigae?
As with other Korean stews, the best way to cook and serve Doenjang Jjigae is in a Dolsot, which is a Korean stone bowl that is designed to keep your soups warm during the entire duration of your meal.
Korean stone bowls can be used directly on the stovetop, which makes them the ideal cookware to prepare your soups and stews, to be transferred directly to your dinner table to serve alongside your favorite side dishes and a bowl of steamed rice.
My favorite way to enjoy the stew is to spoon the steaming hot stew with chunks of vegetables and tofu onto my bowl of rice and mix it up lightly before having a large spoonful of this delicious goodness.
Another way is to add a portion of rice to a small bowl and submerge it with the soup to make a meal of its own, which is possibly one of the most satisfying ways to enjoy your Korean stews.
Coupled with a slice of kimchi, it is truly a burst of flavor in every bite!
I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious Doenjang Jjigae recipe, and as usual, please feel free to leave a comment below or message me on Instagram with any questions you may have. Happy cooking everyone!
Other Korean recipes you may like:
- Soondubu Jjigae (Koeran Soft Tofu Stew)
- Korean Braised Tofu (Dubu Jorim)
- Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew)
- Dakdoritang (Spicy Korean Chicken Stew)
- Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)
Doenjang Jjigae (Soybean Paste Stew)
- 3 cups anchovy stock dashi, or unsalted chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 tbsp Doenjang (Korean soybean paste)
- 1 tbsp Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) add less to reduce heat
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 medium onion diced
- 1/4 (80 g) zucchini diced
- 50 g mushrooms
- 1/2 package tofu soft or medium-firm, cut into cubes
- 1 each green onion, chili pepper optional, for garnish
- In a pot over medium heat, add stock and Doenjang (Korean soybean paste) and stir to combine. Add Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) and garlic and bring to a boil.
- Add onion and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes. Add tofu and mushrooms, cover, and cook for another 3-4 minutes or to your desired consistency.
- Garnish with green onion and chili pepper if using, and serve warm with a side of steamed rice and kimchi. Enjoy!
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