There are two types of Korean people, one who prefers Doenjang Jjigae over Kimchi Jjigae, and the other way around. I usually belong to the former, and to me this dish is something that reminds me of family and home. The chopping sound of veggies, smell of Doenjang, and bubbling sound of the stew, easily takes me back to a dining table with my family. The stew itself is rustic and humble, very heart warming as well, and I personally think is the dish that truly represents Korean food.
I’ve recently learnt from my mother that the key in making delicious Doenjang Jjigae is to boil the Doenjang long enough to get its fullest flavor. So when I make the soup broth, I would add the Doenjang from start, along with the other broth ingredients and simmer together. You don’t want to keep boiling the stew after the vegetables are in, because they’ll get too mushy and lose their individual flavor. And of course, use the best Doenjang you can find.
INGREDIENTS – serves 6
3 cups Korean soup broth
2 cups rinsed rice water
4 Tbsp doenjang (to taste)
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp gochugaru
1/2 zucchini or courgette, diced into 1cm thickness
1 potato, diced into 1cm thickness
1 onion, diced
200g tofu, diced
5 pyogo mushrooms (shiitake), sliced
1/2 stalk green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red chilli pepper, thinly sliced
In a pot add soup broth, rinsed rice water, doenjang and bring to boil. Lower to medium high heat and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
Add potato, onion, minced garlic and boil for 8 minutes. Next add zucchini, mushrooms and boil for another 3 minutes. The cooking time really depends on the size of your vegetables.
To finish, add tofu, green onions, chilli and boil for 1 minute. Serve while hot.
• Rinsed rice water is just the water you get by rinsing rice. I usually rinse the rice 3 times, I discard the first two and keep the water from the third rinse and use it to make any type of Jjigae. It has some starch from the rice, which makes the stew thicker and deepens the flavor.
• If you don’t have pre-made soup broth like I did, make the Korean soup broth with rinsed rice water and add the Doenjang from the beginning. In this case you can skip the first step.
• This stew is suppose to be a bit salty to be eaten with rice. Note that soybean paste can have different level of saltiness depending on its brand so adjust the amount of Doenjang to your taste.