One of the dishes I used to abhor as a child because of the pungent smell, it’s now one of my favorite soups: Cheonggukjang 청국장 (Fermented Soybean Soup aka Stinky Soup). My mom used to make this from scratch when I was really young and I would be amazed (and slightly terrified) that something so foreign and sticky (think spider web) could be eaten. Furthermore, the smell was something that could only be described as a combination of rotting garbage, stinky socks, and as some
For those curious about the difference between this soup and its closely related brother, Dwenjang Jjigae 된장찌개 (Fermented Soybean Paste Stew), they’re practically the same. The only difference is the beans used in Cheonggukjang are sometimes uncrushed and are fermented for a shorter period of time. As with most fermented beans, they are considered quite healthy and rich in fiber, therefore helping you lose weight and prevent constipation (perfect for me!). We usually make one of these two soup varieties because they’re easy to make and provide the perfect complement to any traditional Korean meal. 🙂
If you’re fascinated with Korean food (like me) and want the full details of Cheonggukjang, check out the following link fore more information:
- 1 block firm tofu
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1/2 onion, sliced thin
- 3, 4 tbsp cheonggukjang paste
- 1 tbsp gochugaru (red pepper powder)
- 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 2 green onions
- 2 green and red chili peppers, diced
- 1 small zucchini, diced (optional)
- 1 bunch enoki mushrooms (optional)
- Broth (optional):
- 1/2 cup anchovies
- a piece dried sea kelp
- a piece of Korean radish
- 10 cups water
- Making the traditional broth with anchovies and kelp is optional. However, I usually forego this step since the cheonggukjang paste provides plenty of the main flavor needed for this soup
- Cut the tofu in cubed pieces, mince the garlic, and cut the onion into strips. Set aside until use.
- Saute the ground pork, onion, and minced garlic in a frying pan until browned, 5 minutes.
- Bring a pot with approximately 6 cups of water to a rapid boil. Add all the ingredients except for the green onions and cook on medium heat, roughly 10 minutes.
- Taste and adjust accordingly with more paste depending upon preference.
- Garnish with green onions and enjoy!