Soybean paste soup with cabbage

Baechu-doenjangguk 배추된장국

Hi, everybody,
I’m so excited to introduce this simple and healthy soup to you!
Korean meals are usually served with rice, soup, and other side dishes. Just in case you don’t know what doenjang is, I’m telling you that doenjang is Korean fermented soy bean paste.

You could make so many different kinds of doenjangguk using different vegetables such as spinach, potato, radish leaves, fresh mugwort (ssuk)… Of all the vegetables, baechu (napa cabbage) doenjangguk is the most basic soup and every Korean loves it. (Let me know if you find any Korean who doesn’t like this soup) : )

I will give you a short quiz now. : ) What would you call doenjang guk made with spinach? … pause … yes, it’s called shigeumchi-doenjangguk. Shigeumchi is spinach in Korean. Heh, it’s easy, right?

When my grandmother made this soup, she always used milky rice water instead of water. Every day she made a huge amount of rice to feed her family. When she washed, rubbed, and rinsed her rice grains, she got the milky water. When she made doenjangguk, she used that milky rice water in her pot.

When I was in middle school, the lady next door ran a restaurant. She sold baechu-doenjangguk. She and my mother were friends, so we were like family. Most of her soup customers were male workers who needed a cheap and simple breakfast before starting work early in the morning. What time in the morning? Before dawn! To be ready to serve this soup, she probably should make it at 2-3 am? Her soup was very popular so that her restaurant was always crowded especially in the morning.

I saw her serving her soup to her customers. When her customer was sitting at the table, she ladled the soup into a large bowl from her huge pot and added a little barley rice (about 2 tbs?), and put it on his table. Only one side dish was there, kkaktugi (radish kimchi). That’s all! The worker’s stomach will get warm with the hot soup and a little bit of rice!

I used to wake up with the irresistible aroma from the soup she made. Sometimes the smell made me go crazy! : )

Her doenjangguk was not spicy and a little brown and milky. It was super tasty!
I saw she used flour instead of rice water. She made this doenjangguk exactly this way I’m showing in this video recipe. Only thing I skipped is MSG. : ) Instead of MSG, I use more dried anchovies.

I miss her now. We lost connection long time ago when my family moved to another place.


700 grams of Napa cabbage (half of a medium size napa cabbage), ⅓ cup soybean paste, 10 dried anchovies, 6 cups of water, 1 green chili pepper, 5-6 cloves of garlic, 2 tbs flour.



  1. Put about 700 grams of Napa cabbage directly into boiling water and stir it with a large spoon for 20 seconds. Boil it for a minute with the lid open.
  2. Rinse it in cold water a couple of times to clean any remaining dirt from the cabbage leaves. Gently squeeze the leaves to get rid of any remaining water.
  3. Chop the cabbage into small pieces and put them into a large pot.chopcabbage
  4. Add ⅓ cup soy bean paste, 5-6 cloves minced garlic, 1 chopped green chili pepper, 10 large dried anchovies (after removing heads and guts), and 2 tbs flour to the pot.flourmix
  5. Mix it by hand or a wooden spoon.
  6. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil for 20 minutes over medium high heat.
  7. Lower the heat and simmer another 10 minutes.
  8. Serve hot with rice and other side dishes.ladle

*tip: Do you like spicy soup? Then add some hot pepper paste right before simmering (step 7).

tofu Tofu side dish

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  1. Violin123& has 10 comments

    I love this soup but I did not know flour is one of the ingredients. I don’t cook usually but this is easy enough I can try~ Thanks Maangchi!

  2. Eun Young& has 2 comments

    Wow Maangchi. You make it look so, so simple. My son and I enjoyed watching your video. You made both of us laugh and hungry at the same time.

  3. hi maangchi, i was wondering why you said shiraegi (garbage?) in the video once and not another time. looks good! and you’re right i haven’t met a korean who didn’t like this either

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      shiraegi(시래기) in Korean is different from sseuraegi (쓰레기:garbage) in Korean.
      : )
      When you make kimchi, you need baechu (napa cabbage). We usually take off the outer leaves because the leaves have some holes or some part of the leaf is rotten. If you make 10 heads of cabbage, the amount of the outer leaves will increase. We blanch these leaves to make soup, and sometimes dry them for winter. It’s called shiraegi. This is a way of saving money and cabbage.

      The soup restaurant that I mentioned on my blog makes doenjang guk using shiraegi instead of inner part of cabbage. These days, cabbage is cheap and not many people use shiraegi to make doenjang guk. So I was supposed to say in the video “baechu doenjang guk” instead of “baechu shiraegi guk”.

  4. Hello Maangchi!! I’m so glad there is a doengjang soup I can make’s getting pretty cold and I definitely have been craving to eat some warm soup every night. I will make this soon when I get one more cabbage! Thank you so much!! And the tofu side-dishes are making my mouth water, better make that soon as well too =) I saw you’re Guatemala pictures too! I would love to see the rest, it’s so interesting the places you visit, makes me very interested to go see them one day as well =]

  5. Yay!!! Thank you for posting the recipe for the soup. I can’t wait to make it :-D

  6. Sylvia joined 9/08 & has 78 comments

    I made this for lunch, I even measured the ingredients ;-)
    It is delicious. This will be my new favorite for a few weeks.
    It is easy and inexpensive to make.
    Thank You Maangchi,

    • Sylvia joined 9/08 & has 78 comments

      Oh and is there a beef version?
      I think I would like to try beef and no anchovies.

      • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

        yes, you can replace dried anchovies with beef if you are not a big fan of dried anchovies. Chop beef (about 200 grams for this recipe) into very small pieces.

        • Sylvia joined 9/08 & has 78 comments

          I love anchovies. This is one of my tricks to get my western children loving Korean food. I will make this a couple of times with beef. Then I will make it with beef and a couple of anchovies, then I will leave out some beef.
          I do a similar trick with kim-chi. I make “cabbage salad” with all the kim-chi ingredients. I leave out the fish sauce and I serve it fresh.
          I am getting them to like it this way first.
          Half of my kids love seafood so I sometimes make jjompong with seafood and sometimes with pork.
          They all love bulgogi and the chicken wings.
          My goal is to get as many westerners as possible to eat and LOVE Korean food.

  7. Thank you for posting yet another fantastic recipe! I’m in love with Korean foods now and will continue to try out more dishes. Korean foods are full of various soups and stews which I welcome them for this coming winter.

  8. It’s great to see a new video! I hope you had a nice time on your vacation! This soup looks very delicious, and like you said it is very healthy! A perfect soup to eat in January for a “New Years Diet”! :)

  9. OMG this soup looks delicious !!!! i cant wait to try it

  10. Libelle& has 30 comments

    Welcome back, Maangchi ssi! ^^ Thanks for the new recipe, can’t wait to try it out…also going to try making it Halmoni’s way with the rice water. ^^

  11. Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands joined 2/09

    Yay, a new recipy! Great! Fast to make and easy to get ingredients.

  12. yeah, you are back!!! hope you had a nice vacation! and thx for this simple yummp recipe :b

  13. Sylvia joined 9/08 & has 78 comments

    I’m so happy you posted this recipe. My Korean friend gave me some of this soup that she had made and I loved it. Today I bought cabbage and was wishing I had this recipe. I was going to make a salad with the cabbage if I couldn’t find a recipe for this soup.
    Thank you,

  14. I LOVE this soup! Sometimes this soup is served to us while we are waiting for our meals at the Korean restaurant we usually go to. I love drinking this soup. Thanks so much for posting this soup recipe. I can make my own now.

  15. Indonesian girl& has 4 comments

    What kind of flour do u use?all purpose flour?it seems simple 2make. I’ll try soon!thank u!

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