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. danahess1974 Davenport IA USA joined 4/14 & has 6 comments

    How spicy is this with the pepper? I like spicy things, but my son does not…

  2. Eer14 Columbus joined 1/17 & has 1 comment

    I’ve made this jigae many times (I’m Korean) but use clams sometimes too or what I have. Could you use the Korean pumpkin? Kobacha? And not add the seafood I think it would be good then? What do you guys think?

  3. ashrafzamry Malaysia joined 12/16 & has 1 comment

    I made this with chicken and it’s so good ! Really goes well with rice..

  4. kimmy.sjanie Singapore joined 12/16 & has 2 comments

    Hello there…am at Korean grocery store picking up all ingredients now. But!! Realised I’m not sure how many portions is this recipe for? :))

    Yet another big fan of Maangchi,

  5. samkim77 Toronto, Ontario joined 3/16 & has 2 comments

    This was so good and so easy! I left out the shrimp because I’m not a big seafood person and I added 4 dried shiitake mushrooms with all the veggies (and obviously I chopped them up once they were cooked), as well as an extra half a cup of water because it seemed kind of dry. I think I’ll add even more water next time and some additional doenjang, just because I like lots of broth for my rice to soak up :)

  6. healthycherry Seoul joined 6/16 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi, I have always enjoyed your videos very much. I ate this soup when I first came to Korea and I did not get used to the taste. But now, I really like it. I would like to try to cook it myself and then cook for my family when I go back to Malaysia. I watched the video about making the soybean paste but I cannot try it since I am living in dormitory with other roommates. So, if I am to buy soybean paste, what brand or where can I buy tasty soybean paste? =D

    • lilyoungeun Malaysia joined 11/16 & has 2 comments

      I’m living in Sarawak right now and just made this. You can try any grocery store that has import products and if they have Korean goods, usually they have the basics. You can’t go too wrong with soy bean paste. Not too many choices of brands here so I was limited to the one in the photo, but it turned out great!

      See full size image

  7. Shaynene17 Philippines joined 5/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi maangchi
    Can i add egg on this soup?

  8. amcka30 Australia joined 5/16 & has 2 comments

    Where I live, we can’t get dried anchovies. However, I’m also allergic to shrimp. The only store-made fish stocks contain shrimp as well. I know this is a ridiculous question, but seeing as fish sauce is made from anchovies, would I be able to substitute the anchovies with that? And how many tablespoons would equate to 7 anchovies? (I know fish sauce is more more salty than anchovies).

  9. Stegzy United Kingdom joined 6/13 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi, I’d like to start by thanking you for your fantastic recipes. Your website is amazing and inspiring and your cookbook is probably my most used over the last year. Me and my girlfriend are going to South Korea in June to just eat for two weeks!

    I’m making a HUGE Korean meal this weekend for my girlfriend’s birthday. I want to spread some of the work over the week. I was wondering, can you make doenjang jigae one or two days in advance and reheat it on the day? Or would the tastes and flavours diminish or change greatly?

    I’ll take some photos of the meal and share them on here.

  10. Minhato Spain joined 6/13 & has 4 comments

    I have made this soup so so many times! More than 40 probably kk Thanks for the recipe, Maangchi!

    Just a tip: If there are no dry anchovies where you live, you can use the heads and skin of the shrimp to make the stock. That’s what I do. I put water in the pot with the skin and heads of the shrimp and after 15 or 20 minutes I remove them and I follow Maangchi recipe. That way the stock has seafood flavour and no anchovies are needed. It tastes exactly the same as in the restaurants back in Korea. My boyfriend is Korean and also thinks so, that it tastes like the soup back home. ^^

  11. Espresso US joined 2/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi…I discovered your youtube channel about 2 weeks ago, … I was loving the videos and wishing I was your neighbor so that I could come by every day to taste your cooking. ..But tonight I made my first recipe…. this soup for my dinner at 6:30 and by 10:00 I ate the whole soup because it was so good that I had to keep going back to the refrigerator to eat more and more until it was gone. …. now I’m afraid to try more recipes …if they all taste as good as they look I’m in big trouble. ..I will never be able to leave my house ..I will just want to stay home and cook and eat all day … LOL LOL LOL. ..

  12. Trishavolution Manila, Philippines joined 2/16 & has 1 comment

    Hello I am a person that is allergic to seafood because I have a skin asthma (Atopic Dermatitis) that is allergic to seafood. I am a great huge fan of Korean food and I love all sorts of it like Tteokbokki and perhaps Jjajangmyeon. I would like to kindly ask what is a vegetarian version for Doenjang Jjigae for the broth and its ingredients?

    • StephanieL Wisconsin joined 2/16 & has 1 comment

      I am a vegan, so I don’t eat any kind of fish or meat. I used some dried kelp in the broth to give the broth the sea flavor and just removed it once the vegetables were cooked. You could make the kelp broth first, so I was short on time, so I made the broth while the vegetable were cooking. I used extra tofu to give the stew more protein and substance. It was fantastic.

  13. Chalky331 Kwajalein joined 2/16 & has 1 comment

    That looks so good and easy. Can you add the shrimp and cod to normal Kimchi recipe? Or do you need to add something to make sure the meat “cooks”.

  14. Mikura New Haven, CT joined 6/09 & has 8 comments

    I’m so curious as to what that doenjang jjigae with homemade doenjang tastes like. Must be really deep and fragrant. yum.

    My mom makes it almost exactly the same way, but she used to put some clams in her doenjang jjigae, and you seem to use shrimp. Do you like it better with shrimp?

  15. Anneyeong Maangchi-ssi

    Can I use meat or squid instead of shrimp? I’m allergic to shirmp..

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