Question about soy bean paste..

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    • #49327

      I was just wondering what the difference is between the various variety’s of soy bean paste. The containers are all different colors(some are light brown, others dark brown, etc.) but what makes them all different? How do they taste different and does it matter when using in a recipe?

    • #53314

      You are referring to some brand’s package colors. Some other brand may use different colors for the same products. In the Korean marts, there are many brands of pastes, making shopping more challenging.

      What are the descriptions on the packages?

      The main pastes are kochu-jjang (red-pepper paste) and toen-jjang (soybean paste, similar but NOT the same as Japanese “miso”). There is also jja-jjang, the blackish-brown paste used almost exclusively for jja-jjang-myun. The three are totally different in taste and usage and are NOT inter-changeable.

      If you get to know Maangchi’s recipes, you will become most familiar with kochu-jjang and toenjjang.

      But just like American products, there are differences in the tastes of these major pastes between the different brands. Some may be more sweet, some more salty, etc.

    • #53315

      Sorry, I posted too soon. If you have narrowed it down to soybean pastes “toenjjang”, there are different brands and somewhat different applications. There are smoother pastes, and some “chunky” ones with more pieces of bean. The lighter ones are more used for soups, and the darker ones for stews. But there are no hard and fast rules. Adding to the confusion – many Korean marts also sell Japanese misos.

    • #53316


      It is sad but I couldn’t find anymore soybean paste from where I’m currently living. So, I bought Japanese miso instead. Would that be okay if I were to use Japanese miso in my Korean dishes such as Doenjang Jjigae? By the way, I am so yearning for Doenjang Jjigae these days……

      Thanks heaps.

    • #53317

      Lazycook, its not the same but quite often I use the darker more chunkier red/brown Miso. The white Miso is not even close.

      Keep in mind there are many kinds of Doenjang. Some are refined and mild. Some are chunky and funky. It depends upon what you are making. At my house we have a range form mild white Miso to take your head off home made Doenjang.

    • #53318

      @lazycook: depends on what kind of miso/doenjang you bought. as a general, doenjang is the hardcore-version of miso. on a schoolyard, doenjang would punch miso in the nose and take his lunch money.

      as my japanese friend says: the taste of miso soup is much more refined and much more subtle than the taste of doenjang-jjigae

      while i say: miso soup tastes like hot water with salt.

      as my japanese friend says: doenjang-jjigae is too strong.

      while i say: that soup has some kick.

      since nowadays everything is pasteurized, bot products are pretty much the same, but miso will be much more refined, aka less pungent, less tasty.

    • #53319

      I bought sunchang doenjang. I was just confused because it says it has wheat in it and there where others without wheat and I didnt know if it mattered or not.

    • #53320

      I like Japanese miso.. I also like doenjang chigae.

      In regards to the wheat, I think it would only matter if you were allergic to wheat. lol You can try your doenjang & see if you like it, if not, get a different brand.

      You won’t know anything unless you try.

      From Wikipedia:

      Doenjang is considered one of the essential sauces of authentic Korean cuisine. However, the condiment has historically been unknown outside of Korea, although recent international articles have resulted in an increase in its popularity. A 2007 Chinese article on the “Sauces of Korea” listed doenjang and gochujang as essential flavorings and explored the origins of the condiments, particularly focusing on Sunchang County, where most Korean soy sauce is produced. The article pointed out that doenjang does not contain any artificial additives and in fact has healthy amounts of essential vitamins, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B12. The health benefits of doenjang are rumored to extend longevity, and this is illustrated by the fact that out of the 32,000 in Sunchung county, eight are over 100 years old and many are over 90. The article was influential throughout China, resulting in many Chinese restaurants adding doenjang stew, modified slightly to Chinese tastes, to their menus shortly after publication. South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo covered this story in China on December 13, 2007

    • #53321

      I have this problem too. Wish I read Korean characters. For the time being, I sort of do a taste test each time I run out, however, most of them have been too dark and have too strong of a roasted flavor. I had some tangjang-jigae with a lighter colored beanpaste that was out of this world, but haven’t been able to find which type she used (can’t ask her as it was just a casual friend of my mom’s who has since moved away). Maybe it was homemade.

      I did see some new tangjang in the refridgerated portion of BHFM. Came in a large gallon size jar and was very light in color (looked homemade), but I didn’t buy it b/c I couldn’t read the label and tell if it was just tangjang or made for some other purpose. Next time I’ll be braver. ;)

    • #53322

      hello all,
      recently i bought a new brand of soybean paste and it seems to taste alot like japanese miso instead of the traditional doenjang.. may i know what are the specific brands or how do i differentiate them? i do realise that the one that tasted like miso has a darker brown box though.
      attached a picture for reference. thanks in advance!

      (the one on the right is the one that tasted like japanese miso and less flavourful. the one on the right tastes like the traditional korean doenjang) someone help me pls!

      Am from singapore btw :)

    • #73482

      Can i use miso to replace korean bean paste to make bean paste stew?

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