This Hearty Vegan Doenjang Stew Is the Perfect Warming Winter Dinner

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To make this stew from scratch, watch the full video

Those who rely on soups and stews to make it through the bitter days of winter know that the broth makes or breaks the whole dish. That's why Mina Park, co-owner and chef of Baroo in Los Angeles, pays extra attention to perfecting the shiitake and kelp base of her doenjang-jjigae (or doenjang stew) on this week's episode of Well+Good's Cook With UsBy the end, a complex, umami-flavored broth is simmering on her stove.

The starring ingredient in doenjang-jjigae is doenjang, a fermented soybean paste that's a staple in Korean cooking. "So you can think of it kind of like the Korean version of miso, which you may be more familiar with," says Park. "But doenjang has a much earthier and deeper flavor. It's maybe more akin to red miso and it's very aged, so ideally you want a doenjang that's been aged for at least three years." Because doenjang is fermented, it also has good-for-your-gut, probiotic effects, adds Park.

Experts In This Article
  • Mina Park, Mina Park is the chef and owner of Baroo and Shiku in Los Angeles.

To sop up all that good, good broth, Park also adds fiber-packed potatoes, calcium and folate-rich daikon radish (which she explains is a superfood in Traditional Chinese Medicine), and vitamin-rich shiitake mushrooms. For a kick of protein, you'll also stir in firm tofu. And once the soup has simmered to fruition, a sprinkle of leeks on top will cement the complex, hearty flavor profile.

As Park explains in the video, this stew is easy but you will need to pay attention to the order the veggies go into the pot to make sure they're cooked to perfection. To accomplish that, you'll need to tune in for the full video.

Mina Park's doenjang stew recipe

15g kombu
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
1.2ml water (water leftover from rinsing rice is ideal)
150g mu (daikon radish)
1 potato, peeled, diced
1/4 onion, diced
3 Tbsp doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste)
120g firm tofu, diced
1 tsp gochugaru (fine Korean chili flakes)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion (cut into 2-inch lengths)
70g young napa cabbage or other hearty greens, chopped
Pinch of salt

1. Add water, kombu, and the dried shiitake to a pot. Bring to a boil and then take out the kombu. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes and remove shiitake. Quarter the shiitake and set aside.

2. Add mu and simmer for 3 minutes. Then add the potato to the pot. When the potato is partially cooked, add the onion.

3. When the potato is mostly cooked, add tofu.

4. After a few minutes when the tofu is cooked and floats, add the doenjang, garlic, green onions and gochugaru.

5. Simmer for a few minutes then take off the heat. Add the greens and finish with a pinch of salt.

This article was originally published on January 11, 2021. It was updated on February 19, 2021. 

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