Soybean paste soup with spinach and clams

Sigeumchi-jogae doenjangguk 시금치조개 된장국

Today I’m going to show you how to make fermented soybean paste soup with spinach and clams. It’s not only delicious but it’s a kind of soup that makes my body and soul warm!

The hot, savory, beefy, spicy, and earthy broth gives me 100 percent satisfaction in cold weather like we have these days in New York City. Besides, the texture of the soft spinach and sweet and chewy clams is amazing.

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Doenjang soup, or doenjangguk, is Koreans’ everyday food and we have many variations. I already posted one version with boy choy, and another with cabbage. This version uses spinach and clams. I usually make stock for doenjangguk with dried anchovies, but when I find good clams and spinach at the market, I make this style of doenjangguk. The key to this recipe is using good bunch spinach and  fresh live clams and preparing them well.

Fermented soybean paste (doenjang) is a staple ingredient in Korean cuisine. You can buy it at any Korean grocery store or online. But you can also make it at home. Well fermented homemade doenjang is absolutely more delicious than commercially sold doenjang, it has deeper and more pungent flavor. I make my own doenjang and use it for my everyday dishes but when I make recipes for you, I use commercially sold doenjang because I know homemade doenjang is not available for most of you. Enjoy the recipe!

How to choose clams:

Choose ones that are closed with whole shells, because if they are alive, they will close up. They should smell nice and not stinky at all. Once you get them home, discard any that won’t close or have chipped or cracked shells. You can try tapping any open ones, and if they don’t close up that means they’re dead and you should get rid of them. Scrub and rinse them under cool running water.

I usually use fresh clams right away when I buy them, but my fishmonger gave me some good tips to keeping the clams fresh until I’m ready to use them. First, spread them on a large plate or platter, then add a wet paper towel or kitchen towel on of them. Put some ice cubes in a ziplock bag on the towel and refrigerate up to overnight. Never put the clams in a plastic bag, they will suffocate.

Ingredients

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Directions

Purge the grit from the clams

  1. Put the salt in a bowl with 4 cups of cold water. Stir to dissolve. Add the clams and cover with a kitchen towel and let sit for a few hours in the refrigerator so that the clams spit out any grit.
  2. Drain and rinse the clams, rubbing and scrubbing the clams with your hands and kitchen brush (if needed) under running cold water. Drain.

Make doenjangguk

    1. Heat a large heavy pot over medium high heat and add sesame oil, beef, and garlic. Cook and stir for a few minutes until the beef is no longer pink and the garlic is fragrant.
    2. Add the water to the pot, cover, and cook over medium high heat for 25 minutes.
    3. Place the soybean paste and hot pepper paste into a stainless mesh strainer and lower it into the soup.
    4. Push the paste through the strainer with a spoon so that it goes into the soup. Discard any chunks left over in the strainer.
    5. Add the spinach and clams, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until the clams open and the spinach looks tender.
    6. Add the green and red chili pepper. Stir the soup with a ladle and cover. Cook another 3 minutes and remove from the heat.
    7. Serve right away with rice, kimchi, and more side dishes if you want.

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9 Comments:

  1. dc135 NYC joined 3/20 & has 1 comment

    We saw fresh clams at the farmers’ market today and had to make this soup. It was so delicious and so beautiful!


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  2. Jungah Singapore joined 8/18 & has 2 comments

    Is it possible to leave out to beef or substitute for those who don’t eat meat? Thanks, Maagchi

  3. Coddedge Georgia joined 2/20 & has 2 comments

    Hey Maangchi!
    I’m so very excited b/c I did receive your new cookbook for Valentine’s Day!!! I have the best husband but he will be rewarded with all the delicious food I make lol! We have a friend coming over tonight that we haven’t seen inn12 years. I’m making the platter of 9 delicacies , beef and radish soup, kimchi, minced, seasoned, beef short ribs with lettuce and spicy sauce.


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  4. Missy205 Australia joined 2/20 & has 2 comments

    Maangchi your soup looks very delicious! May I ask where did you get your pretty red pot? Thank you!

  5. Coddedge Georgia joined 2/20 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi shi, I love your videos so much! My husband and I are celebrating Valentines Day on Wednesday and I’m going to make this for him. I’m hoping my present from him will be your new cookbook lol! I’ve been dropping lot of hints! I’m not able to get clams that are alive. Will it taste good if I use frozen ones?

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