Soybean paste is a key ingredient in making Korean dishes such as soups, stews, and side dishes. Compared to Japanese miso, doenjang has a deeper, nuttier, and more umami flavor.
It can be easily found in Korean grocery stores, and sometimes at Chinese and Japanese grocery stores. Make sure to get ones that come in a brown plastic rectangular tub (and please check expiration dates!)
Make sure to get a soybean paste that has a brown color. Not dark brown or light brown. Just in the middle (as pictured below). Usually the color of the tub matches the color of the soybean paste so if a tub is significantly darker or lighter than others, don't get them.
Also, soybean paste varies a lot in salt content from brand to brand. The one I use has 640mg of sodium for 1TBS of soybean paste. If yours has more sodium, use a little less than I call for in recipes. If it has less, use a bit more.
I prefer Haechandle brand (pictured below).
Substitutions: Though I do not recommend it, if you absolutely cannot find Korean soybean paste, you can substitute with miso. If you can, buy red miso rather than a white or yellow mild miso. Red miso has more pungent, in-your-face flavors like Doenjang.
After going vegan, I missed eating Korean food I grew up with. Seeing the lack of resources on plant-based Korean cooking, I decided to develop and share delicious and easy vegan Korean recipes that anyone can make!
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