I brought a jar of Korean soybean Paste when I came back to Buenos Aires from my summer trip in U.S. It smelled quite stinky, which means wonderful taste when it is made into a stew.
I had some soybean sprouts, so I made beef and bean sprout soybean paste stew (소고기 된장찌개, sogogi doenjang Jjigae). The recipe would be similar to the beef soybean paste stew recipe that I posted a few years ago. This would be an adapted and updated recipe, and I hope you can try this comforting stew. It is a heartwarming stew for all Koreans.
Using rice starch water makes the soybean paste stew tastes better. Pour the starch water to about 2/3 of the Korean stone pot. You can use any small pot but the stone pot brings the nostalgic taste I remember.
You will need to add the beef and thinly diced radish into the pot and let them boil. Do you see the scums floating on top? You will want to remove that. Have the stock simmer for 3 minutes over medium heat until the radish is somewhat soft.
Then add the sprouts, about two big handful of amount.
Now it is time to add my soybean paste. Oh, the stinky smell~! I love it.
Put the paste on a wooden spoon or ladle and smear the paste briefly with a spoon into the stew.
The reason I am adding the paste at this stage instead of at the beginning is that I didn’t want to boil the paste too long. This recipe has radish and bean sprouts that requires some simmering time, and I wanted to keep the paste taste the best, which is usually after 2-3 minutes of boiling time after the paste is added. It is a personal preference and you can certainly add it in the begging stage of cooking.
Some people like to add the paste at the last minute, hoping to keep all the healthy enzymes in the fermented paste. But I learned that the enzymes can be destroyed completely in 70˚C. Even with adding at the last minute of cooking, the heat remain in the boiling stew is too hot for the enzymes to survive. If you want the health benefits of live enzyme of the fermented soybean, it is best to consume as raw; just like Koreans dip their vegetable sticks into raw paste. However, the health benefits of soybean paste are not limited in enzymes only. You can learn about the health benefits of soybean paste from this article.
Soon after the soybean paste is added, add tofu, zucchini, and a tiny bit of Korean chili paste. Let it continue to boil for 2 minutes. Lastly add the fresh chili (optional) and garlic. I like to add the garlic at last to keep its edge. If you don’t want your stew too garlicky, add with the tofu.
Remove the stew from the heat and sprinkle some chopped green onion. Done~!
Where is a bowl of rice?
This boiling hot doenjang jigae is dear to my heart. The chewy bean sprouts are so tasty along with tender beef and soft tofu… I can devour a bowl of rice within a couple of minutes.
Living on the other side of glob with the season runs to the opposite direction, I sometimes feel homesick. So whenever I miss Korea or my family, I cook doenjang jjigae. It comforts my soul and my cravings.
Sharing makes the food taste twice better. I shared my doenjang jjigae with a lovely Argentine lady who cleans my house. She loved it, although it was quite spicy for her due to the chili slices I added in the stew.
She asked me how to make the stew, but I am not sure if she understood what I tried to explain. Darn! My Spanish sucks.
At least, she is one lucky Argentine who tried one of the best Korean doenjang stews in entire Buenos Aires. That’s for sure, I hope…
If you want see this post in Korean, please go to my Korean blog; Savory Good Life.
- 2 cups rice starch water *
- 1/4 lb thinly sliced marbled beef with some fat attached.
- 1 handful thinly diced Korean radish or daikon radish
- 2 handful soybean sprouts
- 2 heaping tablespoons Korean soybean paste (doenjang)
- 1/4 block tofu, diced
- 1/2 small zucchini diced
- 1 teaspoon Korean chili paste
- 1 green or red chili sliced
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 green onion chopped
- Pour rice starch water into a 2-qt stone pot. Add the beef and radish slices. Bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes over med-high heat. Remove the scum floating on top with a spoon.
- Add the bean sprouts and continue to boil for 1-2 more minutes. Add the soybean paste by smearing onto a wooden spoon as you add to the pot. Add the tofu and zucchini slices, and Korean chili paste. Continue to boil 1-2 minutes. Add the chili slices and garlic and let it boil for 30-60 seconds.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the green onion. Transfer the pot carefully to the table and serve hot with rice.
- * To make rice starch water: Rinse rice once and discard the water. Swoosh the rice in a bowl with your hand for 20 seconds and add the 2 1/2 cup of water to the rice. Swirl around and you will see milky water. Reserve the milky water to use as a stock base. Continue rinsing the rice couple more times and cook by your preferred method.