Soybean paste, called doenjang in Korean, is Korea’s version of Japanese miso. Like miso, doenjang forms the basis of a number of Korean dishes, most notably a series of dense, rich soups and stews that have doenjang in their names.

This recipe is for a doenjang-based soup with pork. Since it’s a soup it’s lighter (in flavor) than doenjang stew, i.e., doenjang jjigae, which is a very popular dish in Korea. The lighter taste makes it a good fit, I think, for spring.

Daeji Gogi Doenjang Guk (Pork And Soybean Paste Soup) — 돼지고기 된장국

Makes 4-6 servings


  • ½ lb. pork
  • 1 carrot
  • 6 oz. (0.375 lb.) daikon radish or Korean radish*
  • 2 green onions (or 6 scallion stalks)
  • 6 c. water
  • 3 Tbsp. soybean paste**
  • dash of salt and pepper

*Daikon radishes are long and white and are sometimes referred to as “white carrots” because of their appearance. Korean radishes are not quite as long, but are much rounder, with a shape sort of like an enormous potato or a small football. You should be able to find daikon radishes at Asian grocery stores and Korean radishes at Korean grocery stores. The photos above show both types of radishes.

**You can buy soybean paste in plastic, tub-like containers at Asian grocery stores or on for about $10. The tubs are easy to identify, even if you don’t read Korean, because they are always brown or tan in color, to match their contents. (See photo above.)


  • Slice pork into thin strips.
  • Slice carrot diagonally.
  • Cut radish into blocks or half moons. (The blocks should be relatively thin, more like tiles than chunks. For example, if you’re using a fat radish, the blocks could be 2 inches long x 2 inches wide x ½-inch high/thick. Since I had a relatively thin daikon radish, I made half-moon shapes.)
  • Cut green onions into 1-inch-long pieces.
  • Place 2 cups of water into saucepan. Add pork and boil it for one minute. Drain pork and discard water.
  • Bring 6 cups of broth or water to a boil. Add pork, carrot and radish.
  • Simmer 30 minutes.
  • Add soybean paste, chopped green onion and salt and pepper to taste.***
  • Simmer one minute and serve hot.

***If your soup tastes too bland, add more soybean paste.

[Recipe from “Korean Cooking”, an out-of-print cookbook created by the Korean Institute of Minnesota.]