K-popped! Kitchen: Doenjang Jjigae

While Orchid has been giving you health and beauty tips in May, I figured we could round off her posts with a healthy dish!

Today’s recipe is a very nourishing stew made with Doenjang. Doenjang is fermented soybean and is very similar the Japanese miso. It is said that doenjang is so good for you that having it regularly can help prevent cancer, lower blood pressure, strengthen the liver, aid digestion, keep our skin healthy, and best of all, slow down the aging process. In some sites I’ve browsed, they’ve said that doenjang is also a detoxifying agent (and it’s effective against some snake venom and bee stings!), prevents heart disease and keeps the brain healthy. Wow, this truly is some kind of super food!

Well, I don’t know about the snake venom, but I can tell you this – I have been eating doenjang quite often because it is so simple and quick to make and my skin has become more vibrant over time. I rarely use products on my skin so I’m pretty sure this stuff works. 😉

Doenjang comes in several varieties ranging from light tan to dark chocolate brown pastes. I usually get the ones that range in the middle. The darker the paste, the stronger the flavour.

Step 1: Ingredients!
Serves 2 people as a side dish, or 1 person as a main dish.

  • 1 litre of water (3 ½ cups)
  • 3 – 4 heaping tablespoons of doenjang

A selection of your favourite vegetables. In my doenjang, I’ve put in –

  • Carrots (cut into bite sized chunks)
  • Zucchini (cut into bite sized chunks)
  • Onions (thinly sliced)
  • Tofu (cut into cubes)
  • Shiitake mushrooms (chopped)

Garnish with:

  • Chopped scallions
  • A drizzle of sesame oil

Step 2: Dissolve the doenjang!
Fill a clay pot or small soup pot with water and incorporate doenjang in water BEFORE turning on the heat. I’ve found it easier this way because with the heat on, it’s a little hot on your hands.

Once the doenjang has completely dissolved in the water, bring the broth to a boil. Do a taste test, you might like to add in more doenjang for a thicker stew.

Step 3: Keep it boiling!
When the doenjang broth is hot and boiling, add in the vegetables and ingredients that take longer to cook first (carrots, zucchini, etc) followed by the ones that take less time to cook (mushrooms). Boil stew until ingredients are just about cooked then turn off the heat. Your stew will continue cooking in the hot broth.

Step 4: Garnish and serve!
If you used a claypot, just add a handful of scallions and a drizzle of sesame oil and serve, still bubbling and boiling in its pot, with a bowl of hot rice. Yum!

A tub of doenjang

Tips: You can try adding clams or shrimp to your doenjang jjigae. And if you like it spicy, add in some gochujang and freshly cut chillies.

Where can I get doenjang?
Check out the foreign section at the supermarket, it’s usually together with the Japanese imports. And if there isn’t any, a trip to the Korean mart is in order.

More K-popped! Kitchen posts!

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