Of guk, tang and jjigae

Guk or tang (korean soup) is usually made by cooking various ingredients in a pot. Jjigae and jeongol are similar to soup; however jjigae is slightly less watery likee a stew and jeongol is a meat and vegetable casserole cooked on the table.

Perhaps the most popular of Korean soups and stews is Doenjang Jjigae. One of the first dishes that most Korean learn how to cook, Doenjang Jjigae isb often found on the menu of virtually every Korean restaurant, from the humble Korean diner to five-star hotel restaurants.

This soup is relatively easy to prepare. Doenjang, the fermented bean paste which is used to make this soup, is quite similar to Chinese taucheo and Japanese miso. The paste gives the soup a smooth texture and slightly salty flavor that becomes quite addictive.

Here is a recipe you can try to make your own Doenjang Jjigae:



4 tbsp    doenjang or soybean paste
1 pack    tofu
100g    beef sirloin (sometimes, I used ground beef or sukiyaki cut beef)
3 cups    water
1 tbsp    sesame oil
2 pcs    dried shiitake mushroom
1 small    zucchini (you can also use squash)
1 stalk    leek
2 pcs    unripe hot peppers
1 pc    red pepper
2 tsp    sesame oil
a pinch of ground pepper

For Condiment 1:

2 tsp     soy sauce (use the light soy sauce)
4 tsp    chopped leek
2 tsp    crushed garlic (I often use grated garlic)

For Condiment 2:

1 tsp    Korean chili powder
1 tbsp    crushed garlic
1 tsp    crushed ginger


1. Cut beef into bite-size chunks. Season with Condiment 1. Mix well. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, mix Condiment 2 and soybean paste. Add the water and blend well.
3. Cut tofu and zucchini into small cubes.
4. Soak mushroom in water. Remove stems, then cut into small pieces.
5. Cut leek, unripe peppers and red pepper diagonally.
6. In a pot, saute beef in sesame oil. Then, pour the soybean paste mixture.
7. When it starts boiling, add tofu and mushroom. Then, add the remaining ingredients. Simmer until cooked.

Makes 4 servings.


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