Doenjang Jjigae is one of the most classic comfort foods in Korean cuisine. Loaded with vegetables, mushrooms, and tofu, this stew is delightfully easy to make but packed with delicious flavor. This rich and hearty dish will instantly warm you up on a cold day, and tastes just like the ones served in Korean BBQ restaurants!
What is Doenjang Jjigae?
Doenjang Jjigae (된장찌개) is one of my staple dishes to make all year round, especially during the colder months. It is a true classic in Korean cuisine, made with a base of Doenjang (Korean soybean paste) which is an essential ingredient that is deeply rooted in our history.
Although this traditional paste is used in many different Korean dishes, Doenjang Jjigae maintains its prominence to this day as one of the most popular and representative dishes in Korean cuisine. It’s truly a timeless dish that’s both nutritional and delicious, and all-around incredibly comforting.
This dish is also suitable for any time of the day and makes for a popular staple on the dinner table along with other banchan (Korean side dishes).
The recipe I am sharing with you today is intensely flavorful and satisfying, similar to the stews that you can find in Korean BBQ restaurants. It is made with a base of rice water (ssalddeumul, 쌀뜨물) and kelp, as well as ssamjang, and makes for the perfect complementary stew to go with your Korean BBQ sessions at home.
What do I need to make Doenjang Jjigae?
Making Doenjang Jjigae is very simple so long as you have the essential ingredients on hand. Here is what you will need to make the base broth:
- Rice water and dried kelp to make the base broth.
- Using rice water is a traditional method in Korean cuisine, where the water used to rinse the rice is used in place of regular water. It is used to enhance the flavor of doenjang, but the starch that it adds to the stew works to bind the soybean paste and the broth to create that rich flavor in the stew.
- To prepare rice water, simply set aside the water used to rinse rice. It is ideal to save the water starting from the second or third time of rinsing and can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the fridge.
- The dried kelp is for extra flavor, but it is not entirely necessary so long as you have the rice water in place.
- Doenjang (Korean soybean paste) and Ssamjang (Korean Spicy Dipping Sauce).
- The addition of ssamjang in this recipe is what makes for that extra flavorful, slightly spicy taste that you find in Korean BBQ restaurants.
- Ssamjang is traditionally served as a dip, but its flavorful components, which include Gochujang (Korean chili paste), truly add a delicious kick to the broth that makes it ideal for serving alongside Korean BBQ, but its flavorful notes also make it to be a completely satisfying meal to be served alongside a bowl of steamed rice.
- Gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes) and garlic for extra flavor.
As well as essential ingredients for the stew:
- Onion, zucchini, mushrooms, tofu, green onions, and Korean chili pepper to be added to the stew.
- You can add other vegetables as well, but these are the core components that makeup Doenjang Jjigae. Other popular additions include potatoes and Korean radish. Feel free to be creative with this and add seafood or meat of your choice if preferred, but the core elements of this recipe are completely vegan.
- A dash of Dashida can also be added during the last stages of cooking, for extra flavor. This is a flavor-enhancing powder used in soups, stews, or other dishes to give it that extra umami, and will make it taste very similar to restaurant dishes.
I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious recipe, and please leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram if you have any questions!
Other Korean recipes you may like:
- Korean Marinated Eggs (Mayak Eggs)
- Tteokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cakes)
- Korean Glass Noodle Stir-Fry (Japchae)
- Volcano Korean Steamed Egg (Gyeranjjim)
- Korean Seafood Pancake (Haemul Pajeon)
- Korean Shrimp Burger
Doenjang Jjigae (Korean Soybean Paste Stew)
- 3 cups rice water from the 2nd or 3rd rinse
- 1 piece dried kelp about 2" X 2" in size
- 2 1/2 tbsp Doenjang (Korean soybean paste) add more if needed
- 2 tbsp Ssamjang (Korean spicy dipping sauce)
- 1 tbsp Gochugaru (Korean red chili powder)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1/2 medium zucchini diced
- 1/2 package enoki mushrooms
- 1/2 package medium-firm tofu cut into small rectangular pieces
- 1 green onion chopped
- 1 Korean chili pepper chopped
- 1/2 tbsp Dashida optional
- In a medium-sized pot on medium heat, add the rice water and kelp and bring to a boil. After a minute or two, remove the kelp and add the Doenjang, Ssamjang, Gochugaru, and garlic. Stir well to dissolve.
- Add the onion and zucchini and cook over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes. Add the tofu and mushrooms, cover, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the green onion, Korean chili pepper, and Dashida (if using) and cook for another minute or two, or until your desired consistency. Add more Doenjang to taste if needed. Serve warm and enjoy!