Doenjang Jjigae Best Soup Recipe

On my forays into Korean cuisine, I've noticed a few ingredients cropping up time and again. Dried kelp, a type of seaweed, is frequently added at the beginning of dishes to make a broth with sea-flavours. It is also one half of the common Korean stock dashi. Gochujang and gochugaru, Korean chilli paste and flakes respectively, are both regularly used. And then there's doenjang: a fermented soy-bean paste. It is intensely savoury, and complex enough to flavour a whole soup or stew more or less on its own. Its nearest equivalent would be Chinese bean paste or Japanese red miso.


  • 10 x 10cm/4 x 4" piece dried kelp
  • 5 tbsp doenjang
  • 1-2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 medium-large mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 200g/7oz firm or extra firm tofu, cubed
  • ¼-1 tsp gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes) (depending on spice preference)
  • 1 large spring onion (aka scallion), sliced diagonally


  1. In a large pot, bring 4 cups (1 litre) water to a simmer and add the dried kelp. Simmer for 5 minutes, then discard the kelp.
  2. Add the doenjang paste and use a potato masher or slotted spoon to crush the paste so it disperses in the water.
  3. Add the potato, mushroom and onion to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. .......

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