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Soybean Paste Stew, Doenjang-jjigae

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nut free
prep time: 
10 min
inactive time: 
0 min
cooking time: 
20 min
total time: 
30 min

Doenjang Jjigae, or Soybean Paste Stew, is a staple in Korean traditional meals. The earthy flavor of soybean paste is fused with hearty vegetables like Korean radish and zucchini. The stew is perfected by robust yet soft tofu. Doenjang Jjigae complements many great meat and fish dishes such as bulgogi, galbi and grilled fish.

The quality of doenjang jjigae is dependent upon the soybean paste and the richness of the base broth. So, it is important to source high quality doenjang, and to make rich broth using quality anchovy and kelp.

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Change to: Metric US
3 tbsSoybean paste (Doenjang) 된장
20 Anchovy (dried) 멸치
1 piece(s)Kelp (dried, 2" X 2" or 5 cm x 5 cm) 다시마 (optional)
5 ozShort-neck Clams 바지락 (optional)
3 cupsWater 물
2 tspGarlic (minced) 다진 마늘
1 tspGochugaru, Korean Hot Pepper Flakes 고추가루 (optional)
4 ozKorean Radish 무
¼ Zucchini, Korean (Grey Squash) 애호박
½ Onion (Medium) 양파
½ Red Chili Pepper 붉은 고추
½ Green Chili Pepper 풋고추
½ Green Onion 파
4 ozTofu, Soft or regular (for stew) 두부 (찌개용)

Optional Ingredients and Substitutions
Dried kelp: You can omit this.
Short-neck clams: You can use other types of clams or omit them. Frozen clams work ok too.
Gochugaru (red chili flakes): If you don't like any spiciness, you can omit it.
Korean Zucchini You can use regular zucchini

More questions? Please leave your questions below in the comment section. We will do our best to answer as soon as we can.

Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.

1. Wash clams

If you have live clams, leave them in salt water overnight in a dark place, so that they spit out sand. Then, wash in salt water before cooking. If you are using frozen clams, you can use them as they are. Or you can thaw them in salt water, wash and drain (if you are worried about cleanliness.

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Live clams,

  • in salt water
  • overnight

Wash, drain before cooking

2. Broth

Boil 3 cups of water in a pot. Put 20 heads of anchovy and 1 piece of 5cm by 5cm kelp (optional) into boiling water. Let it boil on high heat for 15 min. Remove the anchovies and kelp. If you use an anchovy mesh, you can just remove the mesh at the end.

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  • 3 cups water


  • 20 heads anchovy
  • 1 piece kelp

Boil High Heat image: highheat.png image: clock.png 15 min

Remove anchovies & kelp

3. Cut vegetables

While making the broth, prepare vegetables. Wash them thoroughly under running water. Slice Korean radish thin rectangles. Cut ½ onion into bite sizes. Slice ½ red chili pepper, ½ green chili pepper diagonally. Chop ½ green onion . Slice tofu into small cubes. If you are using live clam, soak them in cold salt water , wash and drain.

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Wash vegetables

Slice radish and zucchini thinly

Cut ½ onion squares

Cut diagonally

  • ½ red chili pepper
  • ½ green chili pepper

Chop ½ green onion

Cut tofu

4. Season

Dissolve 3 tablespoons of soybean paste into the broth. Let it boil for 3 min on medium heat and add 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes (optional), 2 teaspoons of minced garlic and radish. Keep boiling until the radish is cooked

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  • 3 tbs soybean paste

Boil Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 3 min


  • 1 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • radish


5. Add Vegetables

Add the onion and zucchini and boil it for 3 min. When the stew is boiling up, skim off the foams.

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  • onion
  • zucchini

Boil Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 3 min

Skim off foams

6. Add short-neck clams (Optional)

Add short-neck clams and let it boil until they start to open up.

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Add short-neck clams

Boil until open

7. Finish

Add tofu. Add sliced red and green chili peppers and chopped green onions on top. Boil it for 2 min.

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Add tofu


  • red chili peppers
  • green chili peppers
  • green onions

Boil Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 2 min

8. Enjoy!

  • Serve with rice. Enjoy!
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