Secret Sauce

Soybean Stew by Chef Eunjo Park


From Chef Eunjo “Jo” Park of Momofuku Ssäm Bar

Soybean Stew (Doenjang Jjigae) has been one of Chef Jo’s favorite comfort foods for a long time. It starts with doenjang, which is a fermented soybean paste. To that, Jo adds a mixture of vegetables and sliced pork belly, but if you prefer brisket or mushrooms, they would be equally good. The stew is best served over steamed rice or cooked with sliced rice cakes.  

Want to learn from Chef Jo herself? On June 2, she’s leading a virtual cooking demo where she’ll take you step-by-step to create Kimbap at home, a staple of her menus. Buy tickets here.

Chef Eunjo “Jo” Park


5 cups fish, chicken, or vegetable stock, plus more as needed

2 teaspoons neutral oil, such as safflower

10 ounces pork belly (thicker cut) or brisket

½ cup doenjang (Korean soybean paste)

1 tablespoon mirin

2 to 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small squares

1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch-thick triangles

1 cup roughly chopped mushrooms, such as shiitake, enoki, or oyster

2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 to 2 teaspoons fish sauce

1 pinch gochugaru (Korean chili pepper; optional)

Sugar to taste

3 to 4 scallions, roughly chopped


In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the stock to a simmer.

Heat a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, and add the oil. Add pork belly in a single layer, and sear on one side until it begins to brown, then mix and move around the pot. Add the doenjang, then lower heat to medium-low, and toast for a few minutes. Stir in the mirin, and deglaze the pot. Add warmed stock, potatoes, onion, and zucchini. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, jalapeños, garlic, and tofu. Cook uncovered on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, adding additional stock as needed. Season with fish sauce, gochugaru, and sugar.

Garnish the stew with chopped scallions, and serve.


Pro Tip

If you don’t want to use pork belly or brisket, try swapping out the meat for more firm tofu or mushrooms.


Serves 4-6.