[Holly’s Korean Kitchen] Classic doenjang jjigae
Published : Nov 6, 2021 - 16:01
Updated : Nov 6, 2021 - 16:01
Classic doenjang jjigae (Holly Ford)
A pot of bubbling hot doenjang jjigae, or Korean soybean paste stew, is perhaps the most desired stew in Korea. In terms of Korean comfort food, this is the No. 1 stew, and no Korean will disagree with that.

Without a doubt, most Koreans grew up eating this Korean stew at least once or twice a week. Surely, the smell of doenjang jjigae coming out of kitchen brings a nostalgia to many Koreans.

I have a fond memory of my mother often fixing her signature doenjang jjigae. My father adored her jjigae.

My mother’s doenjang jjigae is special because she made her own doenjang paste. Nothing can beat homemade doenjang jjigae made with well-fermented homemade soybean paste.

Unfortunately, like many of you, I don’t have the luxury of having homemade doenjang. Making it is on my bucket list to do sometime soon, and I hope I am up to the challenge!

Although doenjang jjigae made with homemade doenjang would be the best, you can still make a good stew with a store-bought Korean soy bean paste.

If you enjoy Korean soups and stews, don’t miss out on this ever-popular Korean soybean paste stew. With my recipe, you will enjoy one heck of a delicious doenjang jjigae just like you would enjoy at your favorite Korean restaurant.

If you have a Korean man or woman in your life, make this stew and serve it to them. They will truly appreciate you, and think you are getting close to mastering the art of Korean cooking. Neat, right?

Classic doenjang jjigae (Holly Ford)
Korean stone pot (ttukbaegi): Ttukbaegi is a Korean earthenware made out of a type of clay and usually glazed inside for cooking purpose. Unglazed Korean earthenware (onggi) is mostly used to store food for fermentation. Cooking doenjang jjigae in a ttukbaegi retains heat very well, which keeps the stew hot longer. Without the interference from metallic surfaces on other kinds of cookware, ttukbaegi will maintain the natural flavor of fermented food throughout cooking.


For anchovy stock:

• 2 cups rice water, see note below

• 5 large dried anchovies, deveined

• 1 piece dried sea kelp (dashima)

For stew:

• 2 heaping tablespoons Korean soybean paste (doenjang)

• 1 teaspoon Korean chili paste (gochujang)

• 1/2 small onion chopped

• 1 small zucchini, diced

• 110 grams soft tofu, diced

• 50 grams mushrooms (optional)

• 1 clove garlic finely minced

• 1 teaspoon Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)

• 1 fresh chili sliced

• 1 green onion finely chopped


1. To make the anchovy stock, combine rice starch water, dried anchovy, and sea kelp in a stone pot or heavy bottom pot and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Discard the anchovies and sea kelp.

2. To make the stew, smear the pastes in a mini scoop strainer or slotted spoon and incorporate into the stock. Add the onion and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat.

3. Add zucchini, tofu, and mushroom; continue to boil over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes.

4. Add garlic, chili flakes, and fresh chili and heat through. Sprinkle green onion and remove from heat. Serve hot with rice.

Note: To make rice water (rice starch water)

1. Rinse your rice with water briefly. Pour out the water and discard.

2. Swirl the rice around rapidly with your fingers for 15 seconds to remove starch from the rice grains.

3. Pour about 3 cups of water to the rice and rinse.

4. Collect the milky rice starch water and reserve 2 cups to use for this recipe.

5. Continue to rinse your rice 2-3 more times. Cook your rice by your usual rice cooking method.

By Holly Ford (


Hye-gyoung Ford (aka Holly) is a well-known Korean food blogger and the author of the popular cookbook, “Korean Cooking Favorites.” Born and raised in Korea, she has lived in many countries. She shares her recipes and food memories in her blog, Beyond Kimchee. - Ed.

By Korea Herald (