‘Tis the season to bundle up and eat hot soup, so I thought I’d post about another traditional Korean dish that I like particularly like when it’s cold out. Doengjang jjigae is a stew made with fermented soy bean paste, or doenjeang, which is an essential element in Korean cuisine. I think many foreigners are initially turned off by this dish, mostly because doengjang is so pungent. Fermented soy bean paste doesn’t necessarily sound too appetizing, either. However, the hearty flavor of this dish is unlike any other soup or stew I’ve tried, and I love it.
The broth is usually comprised of doenjang, anchovy stock, garlic and Korean red pepper powder or flakes (gochugaru), which creates a perfect blend of spicy saltiness. Onions, zucchini, tofu, mushrooms and potatoes are added to the broth, making a deliciously balanced stew (clams, pork or beef are also sometimes included, depending on the recipe). Doenjang jjigae is often served as a side dish at barbecue restaurants, but lately I’ve been ordering it on it’s own with a bowl of rice for a cheap, healthy and quick dinner. If you ever have the opportunity to try it, I highly recommend doing so.