Doenjang—Fermented Soybean Paste

Doenjang—Fermented Soybean Paste

Doenjang—Fermented Soybean Paste / Photo Credit:

Doenjang is one of the staple Jang used in Korean cooking. The soybean-based fermented paste is thick and has a coarse texture, with savory flavors that add depth to any dish. Doenjang is made by first creating Meju, blocks of dried soybeans that are boiled then stone-ground into small pieces. The Meju blocks are exposed to sunlight and heat—often by hanging outdoors—for 1-3 months, while the initial fermentation process begins.


Meju / Photo Credit:

The fermented Meju is soaked in brine for another few months, and this is traditionally done inside large opaque clay pots. During this final fermentation process, liquids and solids separate. The salty liquid is used as Korean soy sauce, while the solids form the thick Doenjang paste.

Health Benefits of Doenjang

  • Among the Korean fermented foods that are known for their anti-carcinogenic properties, Doenjang harbors the strongest cancer-inhibiting effects that remain potent even when it is heated. The Korean Cancer Prevention Association has recommended daily consumption of Doenjang-guk (Soybean Paste Soup) for cancer prevention.
  • The soybeans used to make Doenjang contain lecithin, a substance that enhances brain function and can lead to long-term prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. Doenjang also contains saponins, which contribute to lowering blood cholesterol levels, and antioxidants with anti-aging benefits.
  • Traditionally prepared Doenjang has detoxifying effects on the liver.


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