Korean Cooking: Fermented Soybean Paste Soup: 된장찌개
Fermented soybean paste soup, or deonjang jjigae (된장찌개), is one of those very common soups to see on restaurant tables as well as in the home.
It’s one of those soups that also might take a little time to get used to with it’s salty taste. The fermented paste is similar to Japanese miso, though it’s not the same. The soup doesn’t usually take center stage on the dinner table as far as I’ve seen. It sits unassuming in a small hot pot on the side of the table as you grill your pork or adds a break between bites of sauteed fish. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it to whip it up. This soup is really easy and only takes a maximum of 20 minutes and that includes reading this recipe from start to finish and then putting everything together.
1 Piece of kelp (optional)
Half of a medium potato diced
2 Tbs. fermented soybean paste
Half of a zucchini
Half of a medium onion
2 Cloves of garlic
1 Green onion stalk
2/3 Cup of diced tofu
1. Put 4.5 to 5 cups of water into a pot. We usually make enough for two meals at a time. This soup isn’t usually the main or else this would probably feed two people for one meal, but since it’s usually more of a side, it feeds two people for two meals in our house. Put the anchovies in a strainer and add them to the water along with the kelp. If you don’t have a strainer for making broth, that’s fine. Just put the anchovies straight in, but you will have to scoop them out before you go on to the add your veggies.
2. While the water heats up, dice up the potato, zucchini and onion and slice the mushrooms and garlic.
3. When the water starts boiling, remove the kelp and turn down the heat so that it simmers for another five minutes before removing the anchovies.
4. Add the potatoes and then add the soybean paste. My husband usually puts the spoon that the soybean paste is on to one side and pan and sort of taps it against the side in the top of the boiling water to break it up as it goes into the soup. You can also put the paste into a strainer and as it skims the hot water, push it through with a spoon to break it up as well. You don’t want clumps of soybean paste in there.
5. Let it boil for a couple of minutes before adding the diced zucchini, diced onion, sliced mushroom and sliced garlic.
6. After it has boiled another couple of minutes, add the diced tofu, as much red pepper for as spicy as you want it and the sliced green onion.
7. Once the potatoes are cooked through, it’s good to go. Enjoy!