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


  1. SergioD Madrid, Spain joined 11/10 & has 12 comments

    Hi, Maangchi. I realised I can buy meju blocks in Seoul on my next trip. Can I use them for doenjang and gochujang? Thanks!

  2. R Clark Indiana joined 11/17 & has 1 comment

    Can you use Mejukaru to make soy sauce and denjang? Making blocks and drying them sees like a bit more work than I want to try at this point.

  3. Asher85 Malaysia joined 11/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi maangchi, im making a meju block,just started.after we block the cook soy bean.dry out for a week,then start the fermentation process.its ok for me to put in the warm and dark cupboard with straw for 2 week.may i know what is suitable temperature in the cupboard?then we hang for another 1 month right in sunny and good air vetilation.then ready for next process..cheers..

  4. Kim Yunmi United States joined 7/12 & has 30 comments

    I’ve made meju before… it’s better to seed it with Doenjang if you don’t have rice straw. Also made soy sauce from scratch. ^_^ You get richer flavors in homemade soy sauce. I know the advanced and beginner’s version.

  5. LouiseDaniel USA joined 1/15 & has 11 comments

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

  6. Keramira Arizona joined 4/14 & has 3 comments

    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 ;)

  7. revph 남아프리카 joined 12/14 & has 1 comment

    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?

  8. artistmama Boise, Idaho joined 7/13 & has 2 comments

    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?

  9. Yen Pittsburgh, PA joined 2/11 & has 2 comments

    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!

  10. xelloss1989 United States joined 1/13 & has 15 comments

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

  11. Treebird New Mexico joined 1/13 & has 1 comment

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

  12. powerplantop Louisiana joined 6/09 & has 70 comments

    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.

  13. csyama Hawaii joined 11/09 & has 3 comments

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

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