I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. I got to go on a mini vacation with my family to San Francisco just for two days. We went to Half Moon Bay, then to Japan Town to get some pretty bowls and plates at Daiso! I love that place. Everything is $1.50 and I got tons of new stuff for my blog. I’m really excited to use them in my photos! I also had an opportunity to meet a blogger, Nami – the author of Just One Cookbook for the first time while I was there. What a delightful person she is! We went to a place where they have Hong Kong style drinks and desserts. I had never tried those before so I was really excited to try them. I ordered a drink with sweetened red beans and it came with lots of jelly in it. It was really good! It was so fun to meet another blogger that I’d only known through blogging and facebooking. It’s good to know that there are other fun people who share the same passion for cooking and blogging.
Today, I would like to share one of my absolute favorite Korean recipes with you. If you are familiar with Korean food and culture, you’ve most definitely heard of “Duenjang Jjigae”. It is one of the oldest and most traditional Korean food ever.
Duenjang is a type of paste made with fermented soybean. I know the word “fermented” just doesn’t sound good but I swear, it is one of my favorite things in the world. There are different ways to ferment soybeans and different types of pastes, too. I don’t like a lot of different kinds of soybean pastes, I admit, but I do love duenjang that is used for simple duenjang jjigae (soup). There are different types of Duenjang jjigae as well. One of the most popular ways to eat it is with tofu. I love to add potatoes to mine but this time, I made it with a zucchini I grew in my garden. Zucchini are doing really well this year! I have so many of them I have yet to use.
I found a great way to cook Duenjang Jjigae not too long ago and I decided that this recipe is by far the best one I’ve tried so far. The broth was flavorful and clean. I took out all the chunky beans from the soup. This way, it was less salty and I was able to enjoy the broth without having to chew all the little chunks of beans. I have also learned a great trick for cooking this soup: Use rice water instead of plain water. I know… it sounds weird, right? But this soup, you’re supposed to eat it with cooked sticky rice. You wash rice before cooking it, right? So rinse your rice about three times, then use the water that you used for rinsing the rice for the fourth time for the soup. Believe me, it did make a huge difference for the flavors of the soup. Before, I used to use dried anchovy for the broth and the anchovy does help with the flavors but I really enjoyed using the rice water instead.
- 4 cups rice water (rinse rice three times and use the water that was used to rinse the rice the fourth time)
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced in about ¼ inch thickness
- ¼ yellow onion, sliced
- ¼ firm tofu, sliced in small rectangles
- 1 green onion, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 red chili pepper, seeded and sliced
- For the broth: 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons duenjang (Korean soybean paste)
- 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
- ½ tablespoon gochugaru (Korean fine red pepper flakes)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Heat 4 cups rice water in a pot. Add duenjang and gochujang and bring water to boiling, stirring well to blend the pastes. When the water starts boiling, using a little strainer, scoop the soybean chunks from the soup.
- Add the sliced zucchini, onions, and tofu and keep boiling, about 8-10 minutes or until the zucchini slices are tender. Add the garlic, gochugaru and salt and stir.
- Remove soup from heat and garnish with sliced green onions and red chili pepper.
Cut all the vegetables shown in the picture.
Using a strainer, remove all soybean chunks from the broth.
Add all the veggies, tofu, and gochugaru and stir well!
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