Not only is doenjang chiggae (bean paste, vegetable, and tofu soup) healthy, vegan, and guilt-free with at least 3 of your “5-a-day” included; it is also absolutely delicious. This is the veggie heaven of Korean food, available at even BBQ restaurants. But there’s nothing like homemade doenjang chiggae, and the joy of making it yourself. Here’s a simple recipe taught to me by my Korean colleague. I haven’t looked back since:
Large panful of water
2 tbspns doenjang paste
1 pack set tofu
1 clove garlic
1 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
1 tbspn soy sauce
1/2 tbspn vinegar
1/2 tbsn sesame oil
Black pepper (to taste)
Chillis (optional, to taste)
1) Chop the tofu and vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Grind or finely chop the garlic.
2) Fill a large pan with cold water. Put on a high heat and add the chopped ingredients. Bring to the boil.
3) Reduce heat to a simmer.
4) Add the doenjang paste, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. Stir thoroughly.
5) Leave to simmer in lidded pan on a low heat for 20 mins, tasting every 5 minutes and adding pepper, more soy sauce, and chilli if needed.
6) Serve with rice and sides of kimchi and “veggie bulgogi“.
The above recipe will serve 4, or can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days. Like many foods, it tastes even better the next day.
Variations include using pumpkin instead of courgette, and red onion rather than white, but I think that the above recipe is the best in terms of budget.
Obviously, there is loads of room for experimentation. I see this as Korea’s answer to the Mediterranean’s minestra, and as long as you have a tub of doenjang in-house, you can improvise with whatever happens to be in the fridge.
- Doenjang and set tofu are available from Asian stores throughout London. We also recently spotted set tofu on sale in Waitrose, although the other major supermarkets don’t seem to stock it as yet.