Korean Bean Paste Stew (dwen jang jjigae) is a classic Korean dish that is equally, if not more, popular than the Korean Kimchi Stew . It is commonly served with rice at the end of a Korean BBQ meal in a small stone pot. It is a delicious meal, but for foreigners, may be an acquired taste. Partly the reason is because of its smell. We got to admit, it is not the most pleasant smelling dish out there. However, if you can get past that, you will discover its rich flavor and become hooked on this stuff! To sum it up, think of this dish as a Korean Miso Soup/Stew. Give it a chance, and try this recipe out. :)
What You Will Need
- Korean Bean Paste (this can be found in a Korean grocery store) Japanese miso will not taste the same, so do not try to buy that!)
- Tofu (we used silken tofu, but you can use any kind of tofu)
- Korean Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- Green Pepper/Fresh or jar Jalapeño
- Green Onion
- Asian Squash or zucchini
- Mushroom (any kind is fine)
- Mussel/clam/beef–Optional; you can use any one of those
- Dried Anchovies and Dried Seaweed
What to Do:
The first thing we need to do is make a broth for the stew. We used about 5-6 pieces of dried anchovies (can be found in Asian market) and 2 pieces of dried seaweed. If you don’t have this in your pantry, you can use just water and hon dashi, but we recommend investing in anchovies and seaweed because they are used as a base for broth for many Korean dishes. So, start by putting those in a pot with about 1 1/2 cup water and boil. After a few minutes into boiling you will definitely start to smell a ‘fishy’ smell. That’s exactly what you want.
While the water is boiling, you can start prepping your other goodies. Start by slicing the squash/zucchini into half moon shape. It really doesn’t matter how you slice it, but we like ours like this.
Also, slice your green onions and and mince the garlic (we used about 2). After that, slice your mushrooms (we used about 4) and mussel (if you’re using clam, we recommend you using the ones still in the shell and just putting them in whole).
Once the water has boiled for about 2-3 minutes, take out the anchovies and seaweed with a slotted spoon. Discard the anchovies and seaweed, we are done using them.
Now, take a big generous spoonful of the bean paste, and using the slotted spoon, put it into the water. You are trying to break the bean paste up, so that you won’t have clumps of bean paste floating in the water.
Now let that come to a boil and then insert the mushroom, zucchini/squash, garlic, half of the green onions, and mussels into the pot. Lower the heat to a simmer.
Now, we like to add in a little spice into our soup, and to do that, we sprinkle in some Korean red pepper flakes as well as some good ol’ jalapenos from a jar. Trust us, just do it. :)
Let the pot simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop a little of the tofu. We used this much.
Now put the tofu in. You don’t want to boil it for long because the tofu will start to enlarge like crazy. So, insert the tofu about 1 minute–right before you are about to serve the soup. Also put in the rest of the green onions.
Stir it up a little bit with a spoon and you are ready to serve! :) Enjoy!