Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Version of Doenjang Jjigae, The Fast and Delicious

I always love to cook dishes that originated from other countries, as long as it's simple, of course. And this soup is one of those. At first, I don't know what the name is. I just know that this dish is always been served in cold weather or in an emergency situation when peopel needs to eat immediately with fast and simple preparation. At least that's what I watch from Korean drama, since I'm a fan. I got inspired in the beginning from the drama Mary Stayed Out All Night (Maerineun Oebakjoong). When I saw the actors prepared this soup in no time, and somewhat it looked tasteful, I thought I should try that. After doing some little research, I knew that this soup is called Doenjang Jjigae or soybean paste soup/stew.

Korean soy bean paste and chili pepper paste

As it's called soybean paste stew, so soybean paste is the main ingredient. It's for the broth actually. As the main ingredient of miso soup is miso. This special ingredient have a distinct taste, that make us recognize immediately that this is Korean food. Miso and doenjang have similar look and taste, but each has a unique characteristic that only the palate can tell. Doenjang is slightly bitter I think. And when you mix it with gochujang (chili pepper paste), the combination is just awesome.

There are many versions of this stew, as usual. But as usual also, I go with the easiest one. The great thing about this dish is we can mix anything inside, although in restaurant they usually use shrimp. So, everybody has their own favorite. And after my first try out, my husband and daughter liked it so much, and they asked for more. So, right now, doenjang jjigae is one of our family's favorite dish.

You can have your own version of this stew. And, here's my version of Doenjang Jjigae:

4 tbs doenjang/Korean soy bean paste (or to taste)
2 tbs gochujang/Korean chili pepper paste (or to taste)
1 package Tofu, slice thickly
1 package of Shimeji mushroom (about 100 gr)
250 gr sliced beef for shabu-shabu
pakcoy (or other greens)
1 sachet dashi (optional)
1 cup diced spring onion
1 liter  water (or chicken stock)

Boil water in the sauce pan with medium heat until it shimmers. 
Then add dashi,  doenjang, and gochujang.
Stir occasionally until all blends.
Add tofu, mushroom, beef, and pakcoy. Stir and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Lastly, add spring onion, and serve with rice.

Serving: 3-4

 I usually mix the rice with the stew inside the bowl. Better you eat it when it's still piping hot. It comforts you the best when it's raining outside. What a day...

*note: doenjang has salty taste, so be careful if you want to add salt, which I don't do. :))
Dashi is basic japanese stock made from sea kelp and preserved bonito fish. I use it just to add flavor. You don't have to use if you don't want to. However, it's a must if you want to cook Japanese miso soup. You can buy an instant dashi, or make it from scratch.

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