Generic Korean

된장찌개 aka Daeng Jang Jiggae aka Soybean paste stew

Posted on: November 14, 2010

One of the most fundamental Korean foods besides rice and kimchi is 된장찌개 (aka Daeng Jang Jiggae aka Soybean paste stew).  It is also one of the only korean foods I can make that is edible.  Here’s what I do:

I take my stone jiggae pot and add some water, a handful of anchovies, and let it come to a boil.

After the water is infused with fish stock flavor, I scoop them out of the water and put in sliced onions and diced potatoes.

Then I put in two spoonfuls of soybean paste.  Now soybean paste deserves its own paragraph.   I can’t eat the packaged kind.  Actually, i’m lying.  I would eat it off the floor.  I should say the packaged soybean paste lacks the flavor profile of the home made kind.  My mom washes, cooks and grinds the beans, then salts it, adds the other ingredients and lets it ferment.  The major advantage of having my mom made-paste is that it doesn’t smell.  The smelly kind actually has more nutritional value but my dad is really sensitive to smell so she developed a way to make it odorless.

So after the paste is added, I just wait like 5-10 minutes depending on how much I care about the potatoes being done and add my tofu.  I usually also add zucchini but I only had mushrooms so mushrooms it is.  I also added a dash of red pepper powder and dashida (beef stock) just to mix it up.

Then i just let it bubble.  My favorite thing about Korean stews is how it bubbles.  The sound, the smell, the colors make me happy.  I can’t describe it in words but thank god youtube is here to show you the final product:

Eat with rice, and kimchi.  Napa cabbage is used in the making of traditional kimchi and is best picked in the winter.  There is no more traditional kimchi until the family 김장 aka kimchi making palooza.   Therefore I ate my jiggae with freshly made 파김치 (green onion kimchi) and 깍두기 (radish kimchi).

And then my mom told me all the things wrong with my stew.  I forgot to add some stuff but I tuned it out.  Lady  is always raining on my jiggae parade.

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