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Veganism: The Noble Way of Living / Vegan Cooking Show

Traditional Korean Fermented Vegan Condiments, Part 1 of 2 - Doenjang (Soybean Paste), Soy Sauce, & Vegan Doenjang Jjigae (Stew)

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Today we are delighted to have Ja-myoung share with us one of the processes involved in making these two quintessential traditional Korean fermented condiments commonly used in Korean cuisine. Both are traditionally vegan.

Traditionally meju is made in late fall during the harvest season. The soybeans are soaked overnight and then boiled. The boiled soybeans are then crushed, compressed into brick-like blocks, and left to dry in a cool shaded area for a week to several weeks until they harden. The hardened meju blocks are then tied with rice straws and left to hang below the eaves of houses to air-dry while bacillus subtilis in the rice straw ferment the soybeans, giving it its unique taste.

“When the meju is soaked in brine, it will increase in volume. I’ll fill half of each burlap bag with the meju and tie them. I have filled three bags with five kilograms of meju. Put the bags with the meju at the bottom of the jar. Now, to make the brine, prepare 18 liters of water. Prepare four and a half kilograms of salt. Let’s add the salt to the water. Stir well to dissolve the salt.

Let’s now measure the salinity of the saltwater. Salinity should be between 18 and 19. The salinity is just right. Let’s pour this prepared brine into the jar. I’m going to put a net over it so that no small animal-people get in, and it is safe for them. Just put a mesh on it. And cover the jar with a lid. We have finished making the Soybean Paste and Soy Sauce.

Let’s take out the well-aged soybean paste and soy sauce. It is usually well matured in two months’ time. It has matured very well.”

“Doenjang Jjigae is one of the favorite dishes of Koreans. First, add vegan broth into a pot and boil it. Add one liter of vegan broth. Before the vegan broth starts to boil, add in the sliced king oyster mushroom and the oyster mushrooms. The broth is now boiling. Add the zucchini and the enoki mushrooms. While the broth is simmering, add in the doenjang. Add about four tablespoons of soybean paste and stir it well to mix the ingredients. Before the stew starts to boil vigorously, add in the cut tofu. I’ll add some green chili pepper. The stew is now boiling. Finally, add in the red and green chili peppers. So, this is how Vegan Doenjang Jjigae, the popular Korean stew is prepared.”
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