ㄷ is for 된장
Hello, Korean foodie friends. We are already on the third letter of the Korean alphabet, ㄷ! If you’ve missed the tutorial posts for ㄱ and ㄴ, feel free to review or brush up. I also have a Pinterest board for this category, if you want to follow or join in.
Today, we will go over another staple in Korean cuisine, that starts with ㄷ.
된장 (dwenjang or doenjang) = fermented soybean paste
I know it may not look that appealing. But the taste and versatility of this ingredient in Korean cooking are immeasurable. More on that later.
The common Romaja spelling is doenjang. And no, it’s not pronounced “doh en jang”. If I didn’t speak Korean and read it for the first time, I’d probably be pronouncing it like that. It sure does look like it’d be pronounced that way, doesn’t it?
It’s more like…..dwen (like, it rhymes with the name “Gwen” like Gwen Stefani).
This is where things might start to get a little tricky, but I have faith in you guys and think that you are smart enough and ready for this….I know it’s weird. Again, this time in Korean, we see the “oh” and the “ee” sound, making it look like it’d be “doh en”. But the ㅗ and ㅣ together sort of make that “weh” sound we just talked about in “dwen”.
The pronunciation of “jang” does not rhyme with “bang”….the “a” sound might be closer to when pronouncing “jaw”. J..ah~~ng.
If you’re not accustomed to the smell, you may be thrown off by it, as it is one of the ingredients that have a pungent and overwhelming smell, especially to outsiders. But if you’re Korean like me and have grown up with 된장 in the household your entire life, you probably have an acquired appreciation for it.
The making of 된장 is a time-consuming process that can make your patience worthwhile. Check out Maangchi here working her labor of love, making her own 된장. Isn’t that awesome?
What the Heck do you do with 된장, you ask? Well, options are endless. 된장 itself can be used as a dip for dipping side dish veggies such as cucumbers, chili peppers, carrots…..when KBBQ-ing I always ask for a side of 된장 and sliced garlic and jalapeno (if not already given). 된장 is also often used in soup dishes.
One of the most popular uses of 된장 in Korean cooking is in 된장찌개 (dwenjang jjigae), fermented soy bean stew.
It’s one of my favs!
Just get yourself a bowl of rice and a side of kimchi and you are good to go!
I guess this dish doesn’t typically call for carrots. But I had an extra piece of carrot around, so I chopped it up and threw them in there. But who is to say you shouldn’t add what? You can make it your own and put whatever the Heck your belly desires. This dish is super easy to make. I think I first learned how to make this dish (many moons ago) from Maangchi. Over the years, I’ve tweaked what I’ve learned and made it my own. If you think you are ready and feeling adventurous enough to have your take at it, here is a more recent 된장찌개 video from Maangchi (the one I followed was probably from a decade ago).
Jjigae…..note there are two ㅈ’s here, making it a ㅉ.
When two consonants are doubled like that, the pronunciation is emphasized. Like, if you are about to say “ji”, try to imagine the “j” sound as sounded out with double the emphasis, with twice as much “j”. It’s not easy for me explain since we don’t use double consonant in the English language. So, hearing the pronunciation might help understand. Listen to the ㅉ pronunciation here.
Remember how the ㅏand ㅣcome together to make ㅐ? You might recall if you tried to follow my very first (and way too extensive) Korean tutorial post.
개 is prounced “geh”. The Romaja spelling of it would be “gae”, but I think that could possibly confuse people to pronounce it as “gay”.
So there we have it, 된장찌개!
Oh yeah….do you know what else 된장 is good for? Bee stings! Yup, it’s an old Korean remedy that I learned from my late grandmother. Don’t you just love old, passed down remedies? A couple of years ago, when I got stung by a freaking bee for the first time, I resorted to 된장.
I think you need some 된장 in your life. If you don’t have the time to make it yourself (homemade is always probably best), you can easily pick one up (so convenient). Get creative and experiment with 된장. If not familiar with it yet, you are soon to develop an acquired appreciation for it. Explore and create your own 된장 yummy goodness!