Koreans know their stews, called jjigae. Its culinary foundation is stew, and quite a diversity of them. Jjigae is something that warms the belly and for me, comforts the heart. Even in the midst of a muggy summer, I’m enjoying my jjigaes.
Doenjang is the famous Korean fermented bean paste. Truly a unique flavor that’s rich, unctuous, and slightly off, but utterly addicting. Personally, this paste comprises the base flavoring for some of my favorite soups. This recipe is a spin on the most popular and well-eaten Doenjang Jjigae. This soup is always enjoyed with vegetables – typically zucchini, squash, potato – and tofu. My rendition pairs the strong doenjang with another boisterous, summertime taste – whole grilled portobello mushrooms with olive oil. The grill’s flame transforms the portobello and its fire-kissed funghi flavor brings this jjigae to a whole new world. And not to overlook, the subtle olive oil tastes also pairs phenomenally. Olive oil and Korean food, pretty nice.
You’ll enjoy this, no matter the season and your current views on Asian stews. Not to forget mentioning, it is fairly straight-forward to prepare and preparing a whole batch makes for many meals to follow.
Korean soup remix: grilled portobello doenjang jjigae
Ingredients (serves 8-10):
- 8 portobello mushroom caps, whole
- 3 Zucchini, sliced into half-moons
- 6 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 3 green chilies/jalapenos, sliced
- 2 lb Tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 cups doenjang paste (Korean fermented boy bean paste)
- 20-24 cups Water
- Scallions, sliced (optional)
- Olive oil
Pre-heat the grill to medium heat. Cover the portobello caps with plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms on the grill, gill side up. Immediately cover the grill’s lid and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the cooked portobello and be mindful to save the delicious juices that pooled in the mushroom cap.
Using the largest pot you have, over medium heat, sauté the onion, garlic, and chilies for 5-10 mins until soft. Add the water and have the mixture come up to a boil. Reduce to low and have the flavors simmer. After 15 minutes, add the grilled portobellos. After 5 minutes, add the zucchini. After another five minutes, add the tofu. Using a handheld sieve, mix in the deonjang paste into the broth. This will create the soup’s taste foundation. Taste for seasoning and aggressively re-season with salt, pepper and doenjang paste, if required.
Served this topped with scallions. Enjoy!