Korean doenjang jjigae (soybean paste stew) is perhaps the most beloved stew in Korea. We eat doenjang jjigae at least once or twice a week. There are several different versions to enjoy this comforting stew. The original version is made with the anchovy stock, which helps to create the deep flavor in the stew.
If you like the stew very much and wouldn’t mind to make very often every week, it would be a good idea to make the doenjang jjigae stock in advance. The stock will last in the fridge for a few weeks and it will be very handy for you. You don’t need to make the anchovy broth each time to make the stew. All you need to add is some chopped vegetables and tofu into the stock and you will enjoy freshly made doenjang jjigae in no time each time.
In order to make the flavorful jigae stock, you will need three components.
- Doenjang paste (of course)
- Rice starch water
- Dried seafood and other stock vegetables
What is Doenjang Paste?
Doenjang is Korean style fermented soybean paste entirely made with soybeans and salt brine. Korean soy sauce for soup comes from the liquid in the fermenting process. Doenjang paste has a robust flavor with a strong fragrance. It is widely used in many Korean soups ands stews. You can also eat raw doenjang as a dipping sauce for vegetables.
What is rice starch water?
Rice starch water is basically water that contains the rice starch. I have explained how to collect the rice starch water in my original version recipe I have posted many years ago. Make sure to collect the 2nd rinsed water from the rice. The amount in the recipe will help you make 3-4 doenjang jjigae with 3-4 servings each time.
Which dried seafood do you need?
I recommend to use large dried anchovies. Make sure to remove their heads and guts. I also like to add dried pollock (shredded form) in the stock. If you can’t find it, use additional anchovies to replace.
Dried sea kelp is another wonderful flavor booster as well. They are easily found in any Asian market.
Radish and leek are also great to add in to the stock.
Combine the rice starch water with all the dried seafood and vegetables. Bring them to boil and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Make sure to remove the sea kelp after 5 minutes of simmering time.
Strain and discard all the seafood and the vegetables.
Add the doenjang paste by smearing against slotted spoon or wooden spoon. Mix with the stock. You don’t nee to boil the stock again. Cool the stock and store in the fridge. It will last up to two weeks.
With this ready to go doenjang jjigae stock, all you need to do is to boil up in a soup pot. Throw some sliced onion, zucchini and tofu. Mushrooms are great, too. Fresh chili will add a nice spicy kick to the stew. You will have a delicious pot of stew ready in 5 minutes. You can change the flavor by adding beef or seafood depends on your mood. Isn’t that clever?
Yields about 6 cups
3 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
23 minTotal Time
- 6 cups rice starch water
- 10 large dried anchovies
- 1 handful dired pollock (optional)
- 2 large dried sea kelp
- 1/2 cup diced Korean radish or daikon radish
- 4 tbsp Korean soybean paste
- Put all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a gentle boil. Discard the sea kelp. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Strain the seafood and the radish, and reserve the stock.
- Smear the soybean paste into the stock using a slotted spoon. Stir well to incorporate. Let the stock to cool and pour in a container or glass jar. It will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.