Soybean Paste Stew is a staple Korean food along with Kimchi, but it requires an acquired taste unless you grew up with it. I didn’t realize it smells so bad and strong to most people and could potentially ruin your friendship with neighbors until I came to the States. Well, cooking is not so bad, but if you were to make the actual paste at home, you better live in a single house at least 10 mile away from the neighbors where wind doesn’t blow. Part of its fermenting process requires you to hang and expose the in-progress-half-rotten-soy-beans in the air and sunlight for up to three months.
Enjoy the dish with BBQ pork belly (삼겹살) or gilled fish like mackerel, but its strong flavor is also enough to go with a simple rice meal too.
Serving Size: 2 people
Total Time: 5 minutes prep time + 15 minutes cooking time
7-8 Dried Anchovies (myul-chee 멸치)
1 piece (think “business card” size) of Dried Kelp (dah-shi-ma 다시마)
1 Jalapeno Pepper
Tofu (about 2 x 2 inch)
Mushroom family (I’m using winter mushroom 팽이버섯 today)
2 tablespoons of Soybean Paste (dwen-jang 된장)
1 teaspoon of Chili Pepper Paste (goh-choo-jang 고추장)
½ teaspoon of Diced/Crushed Garlic (mah-neul 다진 마늘)
Onion – Chop into about 8 pieces. When in doubt, use less onions. The sweetness of onion could dilute the flavor and end up resulting in an awkward flavor that is not salty, not sweet, and not spicy.
Zucchini – Cut the cylinder into half inch thickness and then make 4 cubes out of the circle cross section. Think making cubes.
Potato – Cut into thin slices and make 4 pieces out of one slice.
Jalapeno Pepper – Cut into 1/8 inch thickness.
1. To make the broth, put dried anchovies, kelp and 2 cups of cold water in a pot and boil in medium heat. In 2 minutes, remove the kelp and continue boiling for another 5-10 minutes. Kelp has wonderful flavor but will eject bitter taste in very hot water.
2. Discard anchovies.
3. Add potatoes, onions, and 2 tablespoons of Soy Bean Paste (dwen-jang 된장) and stir. Wait 5 minutes to allow potatoes to cook.
4. Add 1 teaspoon of Chili Pepper Paste (goh-choo-jang 고추장) and stir.
5. Add Zucchini, tofu, garlic and mushroom. Let it boil for another 3 minutes.
6. Turn off the heat and add Jalapeno Pepper. You may remove the Jalapeno Pepper after a couple of minutes since it will continue to eject spiciness into the stew. Enjoy!