Gang-doenjang (강된장) is a reduced and thickened fermented soybean paste stew, usually served as a dipping sauce for Korean lettuce wraps (ssam:쌈). It’s earthy, savory, and hearty, and full of fresh chopped vegetables and a bit of meat and/or seafood. The best way to eat it is with some freshly-made multigrain rice and wrapped in fresh, in-season leafy vegetables. It’s considered a summer dish, because that’s when greens are the best, but of course you can have it at any time of year.

The difference between gang-doenjang and doenjang-jjigae is that one word: gang. It means “strong,” or “thick.” Basically this is doenjang-jjigae except thicker and saltier, so you can use it as a dipping sauce with your rice on a lettuce leaf. Another great way to eat it is to mix 1 or 2 spoonfuls of gang-doenjang with multigrain rice, hot pepper paste (gochujang), some chopped kimchi and toasted sesame oil, for a quick bibimbap.

I use spicy green chili pepper for this because they always enhance any doenjang-related stew. But if you don’t like spicy things, just use mild peppers or skip them.


Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces of ground beef
  • 4 ounces of clams (or shrimp), chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large potato, peeled, cut into ¼ inch cubes (about 1½ cup)
  • 1 large onion, cut into ¼ inch chunks ((about 1½ cup)
  • zucchini (about ½ cup), cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • 2 green chili peppers, chopped
  • 1 or 2 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup Korean fermented soybean paste (doenjang)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 squash blossom (optional), washed and sliced a few times


  1. Heat an earthenware pot or a sauce pan (that can hold at least 6 cups) over medium high heat.
  2. Add the vegetable oil, ground beef, clams, and garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes until the beef is no longer pink.
  3. Add potato, onion, green chili pepper, and zucchini and stir for about 3 minutes until the potato looks half translucent.
  4. Add water and soybean paste. Stir the bean paste so it’s well mixed in.
  5. Cover and boil for 10 minutes over medium high heat, stirring it a few times with the wooden spoon.
  6. Open and turn up the heat to high heat and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom of the pot from being burnt, until its nice and a little thick.
  7. Sprinkle with green onion and garnish with squash blossom (if you use it).
  8. Remove from the heat and serve right away with white fluffy rice or multi-grain rice and a variety of lettuce. You can keep the leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days, and then reheat on the stove or in a microwave oven before serving.

How to eat:

The best way to eat is ssam (쌈) style, in Korean wraps. Ssam style is the same way to eat Korean BBQ and dishes like bo-ssam (pork wraps) and apple ssamjang. Just put a few leaves of lettuce on your palm, add some rice, add some gang-doenjang, and wrap it up over itself and eat. The key is to make the wrap small enough so it fits in your mouth in one shot.

Leave your rating:

So far this is rated 5/5 from 252 votes

Be the first to rate this.

Leave a Reply

You must create a profile and be logged in to post a comment.