Bubbling With Excitement!
If you have eaten at a traditional Korean restaurant, follow Korean food blogs, or have spent time in Korea, then you have at least seen a type of jjigae (찌개). That’s right, we are talking about that strange, strong smelling, red soup bubbling in the hotpot at the edge of the table. Maybe you have seen it and thought, “I’ll try it after the meal when it has cooled off.” If this is you, STOP! Although the appearance may be strange and the smell is so strong, you should definitely try it. When you do, you will be pleasantly surprised! This wonderful soup is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. Filled with vegetables and often tofu, you can easily make a meal from it alone. Hot and filling enough that it will warm you on a cold day yet light enough to not weigh you down and make you feel lethargic on a hot day.
As Diverse as a Stew Can Be
Nobody can pin point exactly where this dish came from, but with so many variations out there, its entirely possible that all of the stories could be right. The most likely story is that it originated in the kitchens of the rich and the nobles with the heartier varieties like Bulgogi Jjigae. However it didn’t take long before the lower class developed a taste for it and came up with their own varieties like Kimchi or Doenjang Jjigae. Whatever the true story is, one thing is clear, once again Korea managed to combine some ingredients that most would have never thought of combining and created something awesome!
Hotpot in the Hot-Seat
The red colour comes from the chilli paste and the strong smell is from the soybean paste. Eat it as a side dish or as the main course, there is no wrong way to have it. It’s rather simple to cook at home, why not try it with our recipe? Letting it simmer long enough is the most time consuming part, however, if you have a crockpot, you can easily set up the whole meal in the morning and enjoy it later that evening.
Getting “Jjigae” with it!
Jjigae is one of those unique meals that will pique the curiosity of your friends and family. We are sure that you will be able to have them interested after trying this recipe! They are likely to ask you what other Korean foods you can make, don’t worry, we got you covered. Go back to our previous recipes and give them all a try.
This recipe is for Doenjang Jjigae – soybean stew! This is hearty, and whilst the ingredients may be harder to find in your local supermarket, they can be exchanged where needed. Although the doenjang (soybean paste) should not be exchanged as this is the main base of the stew! You could also add diced potatoes in it too, for some extra carbs and texture.
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2 cups rice starch water* (See note)
6-7 dried anchovies (exclude this if vegan)
1 piece of dried kelp (About 3inch Square)
2 Heaping Tbsp Doenjang (soybean paste)
4 oz tofu, cut into 1″ cubes
½ Large onion diced
1/2 Medium zucchini diced
1 tsp Korean chili flakes
1 garlic clove chopped
1 green or red chili sliced
1/2 package enoki mushrooms or one handful of any mushrooms sliced
1/2 leek or 1 green onion sliced
Rice starch water: rinse rice once with water and drain. Add a 1/2 cup of water again, toss and swirl around the rice for 30 seconds. You will see the water turning into milk-like. Add 2 cups of water and swirl to collect all the starch from the rice. Drain and save the starch water in a bowl.
Place a small stone or heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat. Toast the anchovies for 1 minute and pour the rice starch water to the pot, add the kelp and bring to boil. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the anchovies and kelp, discard them.
Mash the Doenjang paste into the pot so it is incorporated with the stock. Add onion, zucchini, chilli flakes and bring to a boil. Add tofu (be careful not to stir too much or these may crumble), garlic, chilli and cook for 2 minutes.
Add Enoki mushrooms and green onion then immediately remove the pot from heat and serve hot with rice.
Featured image: Soybean Soup, 01.03.2018, www.inspiremekorea.com