Soybean paste, called doenjang in Korean, is Korea’s version of Japanese miso. Like miso, doenjang forms the basis of a number of Korean dishes, most notably a series of dense, rich soups and stews that have doenjang in their names.
This recipe is for a doenjang-based soup with pork. Since it’s a soup it’s lighter (in flavor) than doenjang stew, i.e., doenjang jjigae, which is a very popular dish in Korea. The lighter taste makes it a good fit, I think, for spring.
Daeji Gogi Doenjang Guk (Pork And Soybean Paste Soup) — 돼지고기 된장국
Makes 4-6 servings
- ½ lb. pork
- 1 carrot
- 6 oz. (0.375 lb.) daikon radish or Korean radish*
- 2 green onions (or 6 scallion stalks)
- 6 c. water
- 3 Tbsp. soybean paste**
- dash of salt and pepper
*Daikon radishes are long and white and are sometimes referred to as “white carrots” because of their appearance. Korean radishes are not quite as long, but are much rounder, with a shape sort of like an enormous potato or a small football. You should be able to find daikon radishes at Asian grocery stores and Korean radishes at Korean grocery stores. The photos above show both types of radishes.
**You can buy soybean paste in plastic, tub-like containers at Asian grocery stores or on Amazon.com for about $10. The tubs are easy to identify, even if you don’t read Korean, because they are always brown or tan in color, to match their contents. (See photo above.)
- Slice pork into thin strips.
- Slice carrot diagonally.
- Cut radish into blocks or half moons. (The blocks should be relatively thin, more like tiles than chunks. For example, if you’re using a fat radish, the blocks could be 2 inches long x 2 inches wide x ½-inch high/thick. Since I had a relatively thin daikon radish, I made half-moon shapes.)
- Cut green onions into 1-inch-long pieces.
- Place 2 cups of water into saucepan. Add pork and boil it for one minute. Drain pork and discard water.
- Bring 6 cups of broth or water to a boil. Add pork, carrot and radish.
- Simmer 30 minutes.
- Add soybean paste, chopped green onion and salt and pepper to taste.***
- Simmer one minute and serve hot.
***If your soup tastes too bland, add more soybean paste.
[Recipe from “Korean Cooking”, an out-of-print cookbook created by the Korean Institute of Minnesota.]