Fermented soybean paste stew

Doenjang-jjigae 된장찌개

Hi everybody!

Today my doenjang (fermented soybean paste) project is done by releasing this video recipe: How to make one of the most popular and representative doenjang dishes: doenjang-jjigae aka fermented soybean paste stew!

Many Koreans say, “I never get tired of eating kimchi, doenjang-jjigae, and rice!”

When a Korean mom chooses the first real meal for her baby, she chooses doenjang-jjigae (or soup made with soybean paste, doenjang-guk) with fluffy white rice. To make it go down easy she mixes the stew with the rice and feeds it to her child. Years later, when the child is grown and living far away, she makes it for them whenever they come home again, because every child has ingrained memories of mom’s doenjang-jjigae. It’s something they know and love and are always comforted with.

When some Korean tourists travel to foreign countries, the first place they want to go is a Korean restaurant and eat doenjang-jjiage with rice. “Oh, airplane food upset my stomach, I need something to feel good!” And it works!

One of my friends who has been living in USA for more than 3 decades stashes a small jar of doenjang into her check-in bag when she travels, because her husband can’t keep eating non-Korean food for an extended period of time. She’ll makes a quick doenjang-jjigae for him in their hotel kitchen.

There are many types and versions of doenjang-jjigae (like the recipe I posted years ago, doenjang-jjigae geotjeori bibimbap), and this recipe I’m showing you today is my standard that I’ve been using for years. It’s one of my favorite styles of doenjang-jjigae and is in my cookbook, too. What makes me more excited about it today is that I made it with my homemade doenjang!

Most of you don’t have homemade doenjang, so you can use store-bought doenjang with the same recipe. It will still be delicious, I promise!

Ingredients (Serves 2-4)

  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 green Korean chili pepper (cheong-gochu), stemmed and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 large shrimp, shelled, deveined, washed, and coarsely chopped (about ⅓ cup)
  • 2½ cups water
  • 7 dried anchovies, guts removed
  • 5 tablespoons fermented soybean paste (doenjang)
  • 6 ounces medium-firm tofu, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 2 green onions, chopped

homemade doenjang (집된장)


  1. Combine the potato, onion, zucchini, chili pepper, garlic, and shrimp in a 1½-quart (6 cups) earthenware pot or other heavy pot.
  2. Wrap the dried anchovies in cheesecloth (or a dashi bag, a pouch for stock-making sold at a Korean grocery store), and put them into the pot with other ingredients  Add water and cover.
  3. Cook over medium-high heat for 15 minutes until it starts boiling. If you use a stainless steel pot, it will take less than 15 minutes, about 7 to 8 minutes.
    doenjangjjigae ingredientsDoenjangjjigae (Korean fermented soybean paste stew: 된장찌개)
  4. Stir in the soybean paste, mixing well. Cover and cook for 20 minutes longer over medium heat.
  5. Add the tofu and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the anchovy pouch and discard.
  6. Sprinkle with the green onions and serve as a side dish to rice. Serve it directly from the pot, or transfer to a serving bowl. Everybody can eat together out of the pot, or portions can be ladled out in individual bowls for each person.

Doenjangjjigae (Korean fermented soybean paste stew: 된장찌개)

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  1. Bagpuss66 Sheffield UK joined 11/18 & has 4 comments

    Would sweet potato be Ok to use instead of white potato in this recipe ? Many thanks.

  2. Jang-geum Charlotte, NC joined 9/20 & has 21 comments

    Homemade Doenjang-jjigae…delicious…thank you for the recipe!

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  3. Sporifix Houston TX joined 4/20 & has 5 comments

    I’ve made this several times in different ways and it’s always good. Replaced tofu with chicken once; one time for stock used homemade vegetable stock with a bit of dashi powder in it. It’s always great. I have mine with some Maangchi radish kimchi and a preserved duck egg sliced into it.

  4. Aelonius The Netherlands joined 5/20 & has 2 comments

    So I decided to try and make the dish as well!

    I did change a few things:
    1) I skipped the shrimp; opted for chunky beef instead. That was delicious!
    2) I didn’t use anchovis; I might miss some flavour that way but I don’t currently do well with fish.
    3) I added about 0.5 to 1 tablespoon of brown rice vinegar to give it a slight bit of sour and make the flavour pop

    All in all this was a very tasty first try; I did have left overs so I will enjoy them tomorrow :D

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  5. jsp73 joined 3/15 & has 32 comments

    My wife insists that I use small clams, not shrimp. With that in mind, do you think it would be okay if I made a huge quantity of this and froze most of it for later use? I don’t know if doenjang chiggae freezes well. Any idea?

    • yooniverse New York joined 9/19 & has 1 comment

      Your wife has good taste! :) I, too, prefer clams over shrimp. Shrimp creates a “sweet” taste to the broth which, with zucchini, creates a sweeter taste to the stew (or soup) that I do not particularly like in jigae, but to each his/her own. In regards to freezing, I don’t see why not, as long as you do it soon after you cook this, otherwise, all the ingredients will absorb too much of the salt and broth and will become mushy (even then, it’s still good–a good Korean never wastes food!). Just add a little bit of water to adjust for evaporation when you reheat.

    • Whalingaround Uk joined 10/19 & has 2 comments


      Would this work without adding the shrimp and anchovies?? I am vegetarian!

      • benjimin Minneapolis joined 4/23 & has 4 comments

        I would recommend getting your hands on some dasima or konbu (dried kelp). This seaweed helps impart an umami, oceany taste that you will be missing without the seafood. Use it in place of the anchovies. You can find it at any Korean or Japanese grocery.

  6. jsp73 joined 3/15 & has 32 comments

    Thank you for this. There aren’t many good Korean restaurants where I live. Recently, one of my favorites took doenjang chiggae off of the menu. I asked why and I was told it wasn’t very popular! WHAT????? I told the server that they must not be serving many Koreans! Ridiculous.

    Anyhow, thanks to you, I can now make it myself! My wife loves it, too. She requests it often and the ingredients aren’t hard to find. Her mom sends homemade doenjang to us every year around Christmas time.

    Would that apron be considered Hanbok?

  7. Vishenka Moscow, Russia joined 7/18 & has 2 comments

    Hello, Maangchi! This is my first recipe and I am delighted! This is the most awesome soup I ever tasted! Thank you sooooo much!)))

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  8. Luckyseito13 Orlando, Fl joined 9/17 & has 4 comments

    Hello Maangchi. I plan to make this on the weekend. Can i substitute anchovy paste for the dried anchovies? I can only find the paste in my local supermarket. Please let me know, I would like to make it this weekend. I plan to serve it with Patbat 팥밥 and Wanja jeon. What do you think? Thank you again, I enjoy your recipes very much. I have made several already, and they all come out super great!! Love and blessings from FL

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