How to Cook: Doengjang Jjigae (Korean Soybean Paste and Vegetable Soup)

Because of the cold weather I wanted to make some soup, specifically Korean soup! Doenjang Jjigae is a type of Korean stew that uses Fermented Soybean Paste (Doenjang), Fermented Chili Paste (Gochujang), Tofu, Vegetables, and often uses Clams. I wanted to try my own take on the dish, and decided to post it because it came out so tasty! Some of the measurements are to your own discretion, some people like a spicier or stronger broth than others, so I'll recommend general amounts that you can use and just add more if you want to. You can find the pastes for this soup at any Korean grocery mart, there's usually a lot of the to choose from. This is a little different than the traditional kind, but retains the same flavor, and you can even make this a Vegan Recipe if you decide not to use the Seafood. 

Serves 4-6 People 

You Will Need

- A large pot for cooking in (Use cast iron if you have it, but it's not necessary) 
- A separate small pan for the stock (Optional, but easier in the long-run) 
- A Strainer 
- A Whisk
- A Stirring Spoon 
- Cutting board and a Sharp Knife


- 4-5 Green Onions/Scallions for the stock 
- 3-4 Green Onions/Scallions for the garnish 
- 3 Cloves of Garlic 
- 5 Slices of Ginger (about an inch or so) 
- 4-5 Cups of Broth, depending on how thick you want it (I used homemade Vegetable. Since Vegetable won't overwhelm the other flavors I recommend it the most, and Chicken after that.)
- 1 Yellow Squash or Zucchini 
- I Package Tofu (I prefer the texture of soft Tofu, you can also use Firm) 
- 10 Raw Shrimp
- 1 Can Clams 
- 1/3 Cup Kimchi (Optional) 
- Half of a Bell Pepper (Color of your choice) 
- 3 Plus Tablespoons Doenjang 
- 1 Plus Tablespoons of Gochujang (I used 2) 
- 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce 

First thing that you want to do is slice and peel the Ginger, slice the Scallions, and peel and crush the Garlic. Don't slice to Garlic, you press down on it with you knife to loosen up the juices. They don't need to look pretty since you're just throwing them out after the stock is done. 

Add them to the smaller pot along with the Broth. Bring it to a boil, and reduce it to a simmer for 15 Minutes (I placed a Toothpick under the lid to prevent it from boiling over). 

Once the Stock has finished simmering, strain it into the larger pan and discard the Scallions, Ginger, and Garlic. Turn the heat to Low and bring it back to a simmer. 

Meanwhile, slice the Pepper and Squash for the Soup. You can cube or slice them, although I prefer eating slices cubes look better for presentation. 

Add the Pastes and Soy Sauce to the Stock and use a whisk to stir it until they are completely dissolved. I used about 4 Tablespoons of the Soybean and 2 of the Chili paste, because I like a really strong flavor. 

Add the sliced vegetables to the pot and continue to simmer them uncovered for about 15 Minutes, until the Squash is soft. While you let them cook, work on the other ingredients. Slice the Tofu into small cubes (Lengthwise, then diagonally and horizontally, being careful not to squish the Tofu) and let it sit on a paper towel to absorb the excess liquid. 

Clean and peel the Shrimp, and get them ready to add to the soup. Although leaving the tails on makes them look better in the soup, it's easier to eat if you leave the tails off. 

If you're using Kimchi, rinse off the liquid (otherwise the flavor can take over) and cut it into smaller pieces. This is optional, but I like the tanginess of the Kimchi in this dish. 

Add the Kimchi and the Tofu into the Soup (when the Vegetables are almost finished cooking) and gently stir them in. 

Turn off the heat once the Vegetables are cooked through. Open the can of Clams and add it into the pot, juice and all. Next, add the Shrimp, remembering that they cook pretty fast. Thinly slice the remaining Scallions and sprinkle them on top of the Jjigae, cover and let sit for about 2-5 Minutes (until the Shrimp are cooked). 

Now it's ready to serve! 

The longer it sits, the more intense the flavors will get, but soup should be enjoyed while it's still very hot. This will serve 4-6 people depending on how hungry everyone is, and make sure to get a bit of everything in each bowl. Once again, this can be a Vegan dish if you leave out the Seafood, both of the pastes are free of Animal Products. 

Don't be afraid of the flavor because of the "fermented" part, it's really earthy and slightly spicy and tastes a lot like flavorful Tofu. This is a really warm and hearty meal that's perfect for a cold Winter! You can also serve it with a bowl of steamed rice, or just enjoy it by itself. This is one of my favorite soups, and I hope you get a chance to try it, and enjoy it as well! 

Enjoying the noms of their labor, 

(p.s. Starting now, I wanted to actually try to draw the food, instead of making the drawings look terrible on purpose, haha)