Korean Soybean Paste Stew (Doenjang Jjigae)

Recently, I just watched Gourmet, a 2008 Korean drama about a famous fictional traditional Korean restaurant. If you love cooking, you will fall in love with this show as it introduced many famous and beautifully presented Korean dishes. It’s a joy to see the “chefs” in action.

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Korean Soybean Paste (Doenjang)

From the show, I learnt that soybean paste stew (Doenjang Jjigae) is a staple in Korean cuisine. It is made with Korean soybean paste (doenjang), and just like Japanese miso soup, it is very easy to make. I used leftover Shabu Shabu ingredients which is just perfect for making this stew.

Doenjang Jjigae Recipe

The doenjang jjigae in this recipe is a meatless version, but feel free to add chicken, pork or beef as you like.

Korean Soybean Paste Stew (Doenjang Jjigae) Recipe

Feel free to adapt the vegetables listed in (A) with your favourite seasonal ingredients.


  • 1 litres of rice water (water used to rinse raw rice)
  • a small piece of dried kelp roughly 6 cm by 4 cm
  • 20-25 Korean large anchovies (myulchi) rinsed and placed in a soup pouch may substitute with 50 grams local anchovies (ikan bilis)
  • 1 heaped tbsp Korean soybean paste (doenjang) dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water; to taste
  • 1 tsp Korean chilli powder (gochuguru) to taste

(A) Hot pot ingredients (feel free to adapt with your favourite ingredients)

  • napa cabbage leaves cut to bite-sized pieces
  • 4 shiitake mushrooms stalks removed; make a 6-star pattern on each mushroom cap
  • 8 carrot slices cut to flowers
  • 100 grams firm tofu sliced to smaller, 1 cm thickness
  • 50 grams enoki mushrooms ends trimmed
  • 1 negi (Japanese scallion) sliced thinly and diagonally
  • 50 grams ito konyaku blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes, submerge cooked noodles in an ice water bath for a few minutes; drained (optional)

Finishing touches

  • 1/2 red chilli sliced thinly and diagonally
  • 1/2 green chilli sliced thinly and diagonally


  1. In a soup pot, add rice water, kelp and anchovies. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Discard kelp.
  2. Add cabbage (the white stem portion), shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and firm tofu. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the cabbage, enoki mushrooms and ito konyaku.
  4. Add soybean paste mixture and chilli powder. Stir into the soup to mix well thoroughly.
  5. Scatter chillis and spring onions to finish. Simmer for 10 seconds and turn off the stove. The soup is ready to serve with a warm bowl of steamed rice.