A Heaping TBSP of Life

~ presenting a slightly currated collection of all things edible ~

Doenjang Jjigae

For lots of people ‘comfort food’ is meatloaf and mashed potatoes and mac ‘n’ cheese. Although I am a fan of mac ‘n’ cheese (who isn’t!?) I would politely challenge the assumption that in order to qualify as comfort food, it has to be thick, calorie-full and greasy.

When I was on bed-rest with my son, and totally incapable of cooking for myself, I relied almost entirely on family and friends to help out. My mom would come over and feed me black beans and rice, my aunt stopped by and made me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and my cousins wife made me the MOST AMAZING soft tofu soup. Besides kimchi, it was pretty much my introduction to Korean cooking, and let me tell you, I am hooked!

Ever since that first bowl of soup I’ve been working on expanding my knowledge of Korean cooking, and recreating that savory, flavorful broth. Maybe it was just because I was laid up and couldn’t cook for myself, or maybe it really did slightly touch my soul…but that soup has become one of the main things that I crave when I feel a cold coming on. The savory warm broth warms my tummy, the spicy kick from the peppers clears my sinuses, and the soft tofu, crunchy kimchi and chewy rice adds a plethora of textures for me to savor even when my taste buds aren’t working all that well!

This soup comes together so fast, but it’s essential that you don’t skip the first step of sauteing the bean curd and sausage and blooming the gochugaru. This develops immense flavor which is the backbone of this soup. I use one Beyond Meat veggie ‘brat’, sliced thin, as the sausage and it was perfect, adding tons of good savory flavor and melding into the soup just like real ground pork would have.

Doenjang Jjigae
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 6
  • 2 Tbsp Flavorless Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Red Bean Curd I like Thai style
  • 2 tsp Gochugaru
  • 1 Veggie Sausage, sliced thin I like Beyond Meat
  • 1/2 medium White Onion
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 green Thai chilis
  • 1 red Thai chili
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 small Zuchini
  • 1 small Head Brocolli
  • 1 block Firm Silken Tofu, pressed
  • 2 cups Veggie broth
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Cooked White Rice
  • Kimchi
  • Green Onion, sliced on a bias
  1. Prepare your veggies:  mice the garlic and chilies, thinly slice the white onion, quarter the zucchini the long way and then cut into 1/2″ thick slices and cut the broccoli into similar sized pieces.  Cut the tofu in half so that it is two slabs about 3/4″ thick each, then cut each slab into 12 equal pieces.

  2. Heat the oil in a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the veggie sausage and stir to break it up, cooking until there is a little color starting to develop.  Add the bean curd and cook for about 45 seconds, stirring frequently.  Add the gochugaru and stir another 30 seconds until very fragrant.

  3. Add the onions, garlic and chilies and stir until well coated with spice mix, about 30 – 45 seconds.  Pour in the water.

  4. Simmer soup until onions are cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients (not the toppers) and adjust veggie stock quantity to get the consistency you desire.  Allow to cook for about 10 minutes.

  5. Spoon over a mound of rice in a large bowl, and garnish with bean sprouts, kimchi, green onion and whatever else you like!

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