Meju blocks

By Maangchi

Check out my homemade meju!

hanging meju

These are blocks of crushed soybeans. When they’re ready I can use them to make doenjang and gukganjang, a traditional Korean soy sauce.


One of the reasons many Koreans don’t make their own meju anymore is that it takes a lot of effort and you need the space to prepare them, the time to dry them, and the patience to wait for them to get perfect. I don’t have a patio or any soil here in New York City, and I sometimes wish I lived in the countryside so I could make and grow all kinds of food. But after making gochujang with Jamie Frater in New Zealand, I came back to New York and made homemade gochujang in my apartment.

With care and attention, my gochujang turned out delicious. The taste of homemade gochujang can’t be compared to store bought gochujang. It’s deeper, richer, and much more complex. It’s like comparing processed cheese to aged cheese.

That inspired me to try to make meju in my apartment, too. I don’t have a patio so I hung these blocks in a well-ventilated place where they can get sunlight from the window.

Every time I look at my babies hanging it makes me happy. I hope my experiment is successful. It’ll be a long time before I’ll know how well it works!

Wish me luck!

drying meju blocks


Other delicious stuff on


  1. LouiseDaniel USA My profile page joined 1/15
    Posted January 6th, 2015 at 9:56 am | # |

    I will follow the recipe and make and enjoy this delicious food.

  2. Keramira Arizona My profile page joined 4/14
    Posted January 4th, 2015 at 10:54 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi!
    My family is enjoying all of the delicious food you are teaching me to make! Thank you so much! I found the page showing your beautiful Meju blocks and noticed it has been 1 year since you have posted about it. I have purchased your cookbook and did not see the recipe inside. Will there be a new cookbook? I am so excited to learn from you.
    Thank you from the bottom of our stomach…er…hearts ;)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 5th, 2015 at 9:47 am | # |

      Hi Keramira,
      Thank you for your interest in my recipes!
      The recipe is going to be in my new cookbook coming in May.

  3. revph 남아프리카 My profile page joined 12/14
    Posted December 28th, 2014 at 11:21 pm | # |

    Good day Maangchi

    I’m a vegetarian South African that worked in Korea for a few years and fell in love with some of the food that is on offer. I want to make my own meju blocks in SA, but I’m going to live in an apartment. I’ve been told that the meju blocks stink up a place in the first few weeks. Is this true? I have a balcony that I can hang them on. Do they need to be in doors? Also, I see in your photos you used string and not the grass straw to hang them with. Is is ok to do that? Does it still ferment the same way without the added help from the straw?

  4. artistmama Boise, Idaho My profile page joined 7/13
    Posted January 11th, 2014 at 11:12 pm | # |

    Hey Maangchi,

    Did your meju turn out? Just curious since you didn’t have open air, and no dried rice leaves to string the meju up with. I understand that there are bacteria in the rice leaves that inoculate the meju. Was it a success?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 12th, 2014 at 12:11 pm | # |

      Thank you for asking about my doenjang project. : ) Yes, it turned out very very delicious. I’m making it for my upcoming cookbook.

  5. Yen Pittsburgh, PA My profile page joined 2/11
    Posted June 13th, 2013 at 6:44 pm | # |

    I would love it if you could post the recipe!!! I’ve always wanted to learn how to make this and soy sauce from scratch. Your cooking inspires me!

  6. xelloss1989 United States My profile page joined 1/13
    Posted March 19th, 2013 at 1:27 am | # |

    I wonder how it goes now Maangchi! How long would it take for them to finish?

  7. Treebird New Mexico My profile page joined 1/13
    Posted January 12th, 2013 at 11:53 pm | # |

    Please, please, please tell us how you made the meju.

  8. powerplantop Louisiana My profile page I'm a fan! joined 6/09
    Posted January 12th, 2013 at 9:24 pm | # |

    They look great!!!!

    I am sure the doenjang will be good. Wishing that you also get good soy sauce. But not sure how you will be able to boil it in the city.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 14th, 2013 at 12:33 pm | # |

      Thank you so much for your good wishes! yes, when I boil the soy sauce, I need to go out to the middle of nowhere. The smell of boiling soy sauce is so strong! : )

  9. csyama Hawaii My profile page joined 11/09
    Posted January 12th, 2013 at 8:59 pm | # |

    WOW!!! Always wanted to try and make my own meju!

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