Another jjigae!?

Doenjang jjigaeJust when you thought I couldn’t make anymore jjigae, or Korean stews — well, you thought wrong!

Since fall has officially declared that he is here to stay, all I’ve been craving is warm, spicy stews especially since my house is basically freezing. Korean stews are the the perfect cure for all of this cold, rainy weather (except for today when it was actually warm and sunny, weird).

I tried out a new recipe today, doenjang jjigae, and although it is not completely authentic, it sure hit the spot.

Doenjang jjigae is very similar to other jjigae I have made in the past with the main ingredient being doenjang. Doenjang is a thick, brown paste made from fermented soy bean paste and is commonly found in many Korean dishes. It reminds a lot of Japanese miso which is very similar but slightly different. Japanese miso is much smoother in consistency and milder in taste. Korean doenjang, however, is often chunkier with bits of actual soybeans in it and possesses a stronger flavour. Those are the main differences I have found just by personal observation and taste as well as a number of websites on Google. Anyone else know if there is much of a difference?

Back to the actual dish — doenjang jjigae is a very hearty stew and perfect on a cold night. My version of the stew is filled with tofu, potatoes, zucchini, enoki mushrooms and some hot Korean red pepper flakes. Again, it is one of those dishes where you can really make it your own. For example, the doenjang jjigae I had at Sura featured beef in it and green chilies. It really depends on you! Get creative with it.

Also, keep in mind that this is not a super authentic version of doenjang jjigae. I used whatever I had on-hand so I wouldn’t have to buy extra ingredients (yeah, I can be lazy).
Doenjang jjigae Doenjang jjigae Doenjang jjigae Doenjang jjigae Doenjang jjigae Doenjang jjigaeDoenjang jjigae

What you’ll need:
– 8 cups rice water
– Knob of ghee or vegetable oil
– 2 small onions, sliced
– 1 small zucchini, chopped
– 2 yellow potatoes, diced
– 3 tsps dashi granules
– 5 tbsp doenjang (fermented soy bean paste)
– 2 tbsp Korean hot pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
– 1 pkg enoki mushrooms, roots cut off
– 1 pkg soft tofu, diced

What you’ll need to do:
1. Wash some rice (I used two cups of brown) by swirling the rice around cold water with your hands. Once the water becomes cloudy, drain it out and reserve the cloudy water. I washed it twice and came out with about 8 cups. Proceed with cooking the rice normally. Set the cloudy rice water aside.
2. In a medium pot, heat your ghee or vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
3. Once the oil becomes hot enough, add the onions and saute for 1 minute.
4. Add the zucchini and potatoes and saute for another minute.
5. Add the water — it should just be enough to cover all of the vegetables. If you have extra water, discard it. You want to have a nice, thick stew – not a soupy one.
6. Add the mushrooms, dashi granules, doenjang and hot pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and let simmer for an hour.
7. 5 minutes before serving, add the tofu.
8. Serve with rice. Makes 6-8 servings.

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