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. girlofthemonth Brazil joined 3/19 & has 1 comment

    i live in a small town so i can’t get my hands on some doenjang, i wonder if i use japanese miso it’ll work?

  2. Rinpaka Australia joined 1/19 & has 2 comments

    Thank you so much for this recipe!
    I made it one time before using another recipe but it had a really weak and bland flavour, then luckily I found this and could modify it the next day!
    It had so much flavour, and my Korean boyfriend said it tastes just like his mom’s 된장찌개!
    I used the water I cleaned the rice in when cooking the soup, and it turned out so nice after a fair while of boiling. Can’t wait to make it again!

  3. ssssdavies@yahoo.com Seattle joined 1/19 & has 2 comments

    Love you and your recipes! Please add a print button to your recipe pages to give the option to print and/or save your recipes to our files! Thank you! :)

  4. clydedatastruct Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines joined 3/18 & has 8 comments

    Made this for lunch. I left out the zucchini and used pork instead of shrimp. For the anchovy stock I used the dashida (다시다) powder instead of actual dried anchovies since the strainer/infuser I ordered online has not arrived yet.
    I let my neighbors taste some and they said they love the flavor.

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

    This recipe is so nice! *-*
    Maangchi, can I use some fish sauce instead of dried anchovies? Because it’s a little difficult to find them in my country ^^’

  6. Heidifromoz Perth joined 5/18 & has 6 comments

    As we can’t get fresh anchovies easily here, I would use “ikan bilis” – dried ones, or Korean dried anchovy powder – which I use in my Kim chi recipe. Also, my tendency would be to drop the raw prawns in at the last minute, once everything is cooked, then switch off the heat. This ensures they remain crunchy without being too tough. But this is just my personal take on what looks like a beautiful recipe – will try it soon!

  7. Heidifromoz Perth joined 5/18 & has 6 comments

    As we can’t get fresh anchovies here, I would substitute some ‘ikan bilis’ (dried anchovies sold in Asian stores) or a couple teaspoons of Korean dried anchovy powder (which I use when making kimchi). Also, my tendency would be to drop the prawns in once everything else is cooked, then switch off the heat, so that they don’t get too tough. But these are just my thoughts and a variation on the above theme!

  8. WildRose85 Oregon joined 10/13 & has 6 comments

    I love this stew. My only advice is to push the doenjang through a small sieve/strainer because I don’t like the pieces of beans and shells in my soup. Doenjang does have a natural sweetness so for more balance some gochugaru is a must. Seafood is very popular with this dish such as small clams. You could use canned clams but I prefer it without. Multigrain rice is my favorite with this soup.

  9. KpopFoodie New York joined 1/17 & has 2 comments

    I will be making this over the weekend. It is super cold in New York

  10. jscorpio87 Florida joined 12/17 & has 2 comments

    This was super delicious with chili pepper kimchi! Thank you Maangchi!

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  11. eeb1009 Chicago, IL joined 10/17 & has 3 comments

    I’ve made this twice now! I just use anchovy-kelp stock for the liquid, and I add shrimps and scallops at the end. It wasn’t spicy enough for me the first time I made it, so the second time, I added a chopped serrano pepper along with the Korean green chilis. I had assumed that Korean chilis would be really hot…I was surprised to eat a slice of one and find that it was sweet and tasted kind of like a green bell pepper, not spicy! Delicious on its own though. The serrano gave the jjigae and really nice heat, but not too overwhelming.

  12. AidannGreenWolfe Tucson, Arizona USA joined 9/17 & has 1 comment

    I made this tonight with what i had on hand. only modifications were 1/2 pound beef instead of anchovies, Okra instead of Zucchini, and vegetable stock instead of water. This was amazing. I love it so much. Thanks Maangchi!

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  13. Renaendel Seattle, WA joined 6/17 & has 1 comment

    Thank you for the recipe! It turned out great!

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  14. Tobyrm New York city joined 4/17 & has 3 comments

    Got a wonderful dolsot for my birthday and the first thing I had to make in it was doenjangjjigae. Bibimbap is to follow. Thank you Maangchi for constantly inspiring me to cook.

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  15. Brittanytala New Orleans joined 4/17 & has 1 comment

    Came out great!

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