30 April 2014

Korean Soybean Paste Stew (Doenjang-jjigae 된장찌개) - AFF Apr 2014

Today marks the end of AFF Korea Apr 2014. Despite that, I think I'm hooked to Korean cuisine and would continue cooking some of our family favourites from time to time and try new ones as well!

While hubby like Kimchi-Jjigae, I prefer Doenjang-Jjigae. I remember eating this spicy soybean paste stew at a popular Korean family restaurant in Singapore and liked it very much. The few times we dined there, I would always order this stew. But the very last time I went, the stew had a very strange odour/taste which musked the flavour of doenjang, I even asked the staff whether that was Doenjang Jjigae, and the staff insisted it was. Then I realised probably the broth or seafood used in the stew wasn't fresh resulting in a strong fishy taste in the soup. Naturally that was the last time I visited that restaurant.

This month is a good opportunity to try cooking this soup at home, at least once. There are a few versions of the recipe but mostly similar. I decided to adapt the one by Korean Bapsang. Most recipes use Korean anchovy for broth/soup base, I didn't have any but didn't feel like using our local ones. Saw some fresh clams at the wet market and decided to use fresh clams for the broth/soup base.

Very pleased how the soup turned out. The fresh clam broth gave a sweet undertone to the soup and provided a complimentary role to the highlight of the stew, doenjang. All the ingredients, especially the thinly sliced pork belly matched the taste of the soup. Love it! This recipe is a keeper; I could cook it as a one-pot dish for the family (hubby and I only or non-spicy version so that dear son can eat too) by adding more ingredients like potato and mushroom or perhaps a smaller portion for myself as lunch.

Spicy soybean paste stew (Doenjang-jjigae 된장찌개)
(recipe from Korean Bapsang)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 100g pork belly, thinly sliced (I bought those shabu shabu type of pork belly)
  • 1.5 tbsp Korean fermented soybean paste (doenjang)
  • 1 tsp Korean chilli pepper flakes ( gochugaru)
  • 3 cups clam broth (see below for recipe)
  • 10 clam meat
  • 250g tofu, cubed
  • 1 small zucchini, cubed
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 green chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk scallion, sliced
  1. Heat a pot with 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Saute garlic till fragrant, then add meat, soybean paste and chilli paste and fry for 3-4 mins.
  2. Add clam broth and clam meat and stir well to dissolve the soybean paste.
  3. Cover and boil over medium high heat for 4 to 5 mins.
  4. Add the tofu, zucchini, onion and chilli. Boil for another 8 mins.
  5. Add scallions and boil for another 2 mins.
  6. Off heat and serve immediately.
Clam broth (yields 6 cups of broth)
  • 1kg fresh clam
  • Water, about 1-2 inches above level of clams
  1. Soak fresh clam in water for 10 mins and clean/scrub any dirt on the clams. Discard the water.
  2. Place clams in a pot and add water enough to cover all the clams, about 1-2 inches more.
  3. Boil the clams for 10 mins till all the clams are opened.
  4. Remove all the clams and retrieve the meat. Discard the clams that remain closed. Use as desired or freeze in ziplock bag for future use.
  5. Strain the broth with fine mesh.
  6. Use broth immediately or put inside ziplock bags for freezing up to 2 months.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest: Korea, hosted by Sharon of Feats of Feasts.

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