Living in Korea, you might have not yet tried cheonggukjang but I am sure you have smelled it. Cheong-guk-jang (청국장: fast-fermented bean paste) looks similar to dwenjang (된장: fermented bean paste) but we all admit that it smells hell of a lot stronger. Even some native Koreans do not enjoy cheonggukjang due to its strong, distinctive odor. Of course, I am not one of them and in fact cheongukjang jjigae (청국장찌개: soup made with cheonggukjang) is one of my favorite recipes to make at home.
Unlike dwenjang that takes months of fermentation, the advantage of cheonggukjang is that it can be consumed within few days. Because cheonggukjang is made by fermenting whole beans it also contains more nutritions. So it’s true that the smell of cheonggukjang could be unbearable for foreigners but I can assure you that the taste and the nutritional value will be worthy.
1 pack of cheonggukjang
1 cup of water
1/3 aehobak (Korean zucchini)
2 oyster mushrooms
1 tbsp chopped green onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cheong-yang gochu (spicy Korean chili pepper)
1 tbsp chopped dallae (wild chives)
1. Bring the pot of water to boil. Add chopped onion and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the cheonggukjang and break it up with a spoon. Add the garlic and stir.
3. Add cubed tofu and mushrooms. I used oyster mushroom but you can use any mushroom you have at your home.
4. Add chopped cheongyang pepper. If you don’t want the soup to be too spicy then skip the pepper.
5. Add chopped green onions and zucchini. You do not want to overcook the zucchini as it will lose its texture and become too mushy. Simmer for additional 1-2 minutes after you add the zucchini then turn off the heat.
6. Add chopped dallae (달래: wild chives) on top before you take the pot off the heat.