Doenjang jjigae (Korean soybean paste stew) is a popular Korean dish that is packed with delicious flavors! It has soft tofu cubes, fresh vegetables, and the most delicious broth that is made of anchovy stock and Korean soybean paste. It's a favorite for a reason and perfect if you're craving a warm and nourishing soup!
Doenjang jjigae is a popular Korean home-cooked dish that is perfect if you love flavorful soups and stews that come together quickly without much effort!
It is rich in umami, has lots of nutritious and tasty ingredients, and is perfect if you can't handle spicy foods as it's much milder than other Korean dishes. It has quickly become a go-to recipe as it's super satisfying and so simple to prepare.
Doenjang Jjigae Ingredients
To make doenjang jjigae you'll need the following ingredients:
- Tofu: You'll need firm tofu to make doenjang jjigae. Be sure to use a soft type of firm tofu. I usually buy tofu in Asian grocery stores as they have a bigger selection with varying degrees of firmness. My personal favorite is Jongga's soft tofu as it has the perfect consistency to make the most delicious Korean soups and stews!
- Vegetables: A classic combination for making doenjang jjigae is potatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini. I used shimeji mushrooms, but you can use enoki mushrooms (often found in Korean soups and stews) or regular baby bella mushrooms.
- Aromatics: You'll also need garlic and onion to make this Korean soybean paste stew taste delicious.
- Anchovy stock or dashi: For the stew base, I recommend using some type of seafood stock (or a vegan alternative). I either use dashi (using dashi powder or homemade dashi) or anchovy stock (using store-bought anchovy stock bags or using anchovies and kombu for a homemade version). Instant dashi powder and store-bought stock bags are perfect if you are just getting into Korean and Japanese cooking or if you only cook these types of dishes occasionally!
- Doenjang: Doenjang is Korean soybean paste and is super important for making delicious doenjang jjigae. You can find it in almost any Asian grocery store and online.
- Gochugaru: Gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes) is needed for most Korean dishes. You can find it in most Asian grocery stores and online. Plus, you can reuse it to make other Asian dishes such as chili oil noodles and rose tteokbokki.
- Chili pepper: Chili pepper is used for garnishing doenjang jjigae. It adds some extra spice and tastes delicious. If you want to keep this dish mild, you can skip the chili pepper.
- Green onion: Green onion is great for adding extra flavor to all types of dishes. Just garnish the stew with it to enhance its flavor.
How to make doenjang jjigae
Prepare the soup base and cook the potatoes. Add the seafood stock of your choice and doenjang to a pot. Bring the stock to a boil and stir until the doenjang dissolves. Add the potatoes and let everything simmer for 10 minutes.
Add all remaining ingredients and simmer. Place the zucchini, onion, tofu, mushrooms, garlic, and gochugaru in the pot. Cover the pot and simmer for around 8 minutes until the zucchini is tender.
Garnish and serve. Serve the doenjang jjigae in a bowl and garnish it with sliced chili pepper and green onion. Enjoy it with a bowl of white rice and other Korean side dishes of your choice!
Tips & Notes
- Make sure that the tofu you use isn't extra-firm or made for stir-fries. When you go to an Asian grocery store, you'll find different types of firm tofu. They range from soft to extra-firm. Doenjang jjigae tastes best with a softer type of tofu. And if you usually don't like tofu because it's too dry and tough to chew, you may want to give this recipe a try! The tofu in this dish is super soft, delicious and soaks up all of the tasty broth flavors. I always buy Jongga's soft tofu for soups and stews but you can pick another brand that you find in your local grocery store.
- Be sure to use some type of seafood stock for the soup base. Plain water just doesn't compare to umami-rich dashi or anchovy stock. If you use water, you may find that the soup is lacking flavor. So I'd recommend grabbing a package of instant dashi power or anchovy stock bags if you want a fuss-free way to make a delicious base for your Korean soups and stews.
- Adjust the heat level to your taste. This recipe is only slightly spicy. So depending on your preferences, use more gochugaru or skip it.
- Add some meat or seafood to your dish. You can use shrimp, thinly sliced beef, or pork to switch things up.
- Use vegetables that you like. You can definitely skip some of the vegetables (I know many people that don't like mushrooms, there's no need to add them!) and use veggies that you like. Korean radish is another typical ingredient that's added to doenjang jjigae.
- Pick the type of seafood stock that you like. You can use vegan dashi, regular dashi, anchovy stock, or seafood stock bought in a conventional grocery store. Just use something that's available to you and that fits your own dietary preferences and needs.
How to serve doenjang jjigae
- Prepare white rice and enjoy it with this soybean paste stew. You can use your favorite type of white rice, I recommend using short-grain or medium-grain white rice.
- Prepare additional Korean side dishes (banchan) and serve them alongside your bowl of doenjang jjigae and white rice. Kimchi, Korean cucumber salad, and radish kimchi are great options!
Frequently Asked Questions
Doenjang jjigae usually has an anchovy stock base, tofu, and vegetables. For a detailed list of ingredients, you can take a look at the recipe box or the ingredients section in this post.
Yes, it is very healthy! It is packed with nutritious ingredients that also taste amazing. Plus, it's very filling when served with rice and additional side dishes.
No, they are very different ingredients! Both are pastes that are used in many Korean dishes. Doenjang is Korean soybean paste and Gochujang is spicy Korean red pepper paste. So be sure to use the right type of paste for the recipe you want to try.
Doenjang and miso paste are both fermented soybean pastes. Miso paste is common in Japanese cuisine while doenjang is common in Korean cuisine. Although they may seem very similar, they taste different. Doenjang has a much stronger taste with a different flavor. That's why I'd recommend sticking to the type of soybean paste that is used in the specific recipe.
You can find doenjang in almost any Asian grocery store or online. It's a commonly used ingredient so you should be able to find it.
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. You could also freeze them for 3-4 months.
More easy and delicious Korean recipes
If you love Korean dishes, I recommend checking out the following recipes. They are easy to make and taste incredibly delicious!
- Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)
- Ground Beef Bulgogi
- Kimchi Pancake (Kimchi Jeon)
- Kimchi Ramen
- 4 cups anchovy stock or dashi or regular seafood stock
- 5 tablespoons doenjang (Korean soybean paste)
- 2 potatoes cut into cubes
- ½ zucchini quartered and cut into thick slices
- ½ yellow onion halved and cut into slices
- 1 block tofu cut into cubes
- 3 ½ ounces mushrooms enoki, shimeji, or baby bella mushrooms; should be one package of enoki/shimeji or 2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ tablespoon gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes)
- 1 chili pepper cut into slices
- 2 green onions cut into slices
- Add the anchovy stock and doenjang to a pot. Bring the stock to a boil and stir until the doenjang dissolves.4 cups anchovy stock or dashi, 5 tablespoons doenjang (Korean soybean paste)
- Next, add the potatoes. Cover the pot and let everything simmer for 10 minutes over medium-low heat.2 potatoes
- Now add the zucchini, onion, tofu, mushrooms, garlic, and gochugaru. Cover the pot and simmer for around 8 minutes until the zucchini is tender.½ zucchini, ½ yellow onion, 1 block tofu, 3 ½ ounces mushrooms, 2 garlic cloves, ½ tablespoon gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes)
- Serve the doenjang jjigae in a bowl and garnish it with sliced chili peppers and sliced green onion. Enjoy with white rice and other side dishes of your choice (such as kimchi, optional)!1 chili pepper, 2 green onions
- I recommend using firm tofu that is still soft as it tastes best in stews and soups! Extra-firm tofu is better used for stir-fries. I personally love Jongga's soft tofu for soups and stews, but you can use any brand for this recipe!
- If you don't want to follow a recipe to make homemade anchovy stock or dashi, you can use dashi powder or anchovy stock bags. I love to keep them in my pantry as I don't always have homemade dashi on hand.