Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Korean Soup/Stews

I like my stews and soups all year long, so finding it in many variances was a good thing in Korea.

Soup or 'guk' are a common part of any Korean meal. Unlike other cultures, in Korean culture, soup is served as part of the main course rather than at the beginning or the end of the meal, as an accompaniment to rice along with other banchan. Soups known as guk are often made with meats, shellfish and vegetables. Soups can be made into more formal soups known as tang, often served as the main dish of the meal. Jjigae or 'stew' are a thicker, heavier seasoned parts of the meal.

My routine was a dip of rice, then into the jjigae.

The top photo is a seafood jjigae called- Tojangguk are seasoned with doenjang (soybean paste). Common ingredients for tojang guk include seafood such as clams, dried anchovies, and shrimp. For a spicier soup, gochujang is added.

The middle photo is a Malgeunguk, they are flavored with ganjang (Korean soy sauce). Small amounts of long boiled meat may be added to the soup, or seafood both fresh and dried may be added, or vegetables may be the main component for the clear soup.

This bottom photo is of a Sundubu jjigae. It is a soybean paste and tofu stew. If you like a soup that is more than fifty percent soft tofu, or a vegan, then you will like this. I began asking for it with less tofu. I did get strange looks, but I was put off by so much soft tofu. The last two photos do look alike, but they are different.

Stews are referred to as jjigae, and are often a shared side dish. Jjigae is often both cooked and served in the glazed earthenware pot (ttukbaegi) in which it is cooked. The most common version of this stew is doenjang jjigae, which is a stew of soybean paste, with many variations; common ingredients include vegetables, saltwater or freshwater fish, and tofu. The stew often changes with the seasons and which ingredients are available. Other common varieties of jjigae contain kimchi (kimchi jjigae) or tofu (sundubu jjigae). (Information from Wikipedia- and from my son's Korean friend- Cindy Lee)