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Passport & Plate - Korean crab & shrimp bean paste stew

South Korea | Monday, 17 February 2014 | flickr photos

ingredients for "Got Gae-Sae woo Deonjang JJigae
Korean Crab & Shrimp Bean Paste Stew
water (preferably non-chlorinated
three strands of dried black seaweed [about 100 grams]
5 small anchovy-dried
2 heaping tablespoons of Deonjang (Bean Paste)*
4 shiitake mushrooms (cut into quarters)
1 welsh onion & 1 yellow onion
1 Korean radish sliced in random cuts (approx.200 grams)**
1 small white potato coarsely sliced - optional
1 small longneck squash sliced into rings and then halved
5 medium size shrimp (in their shells)
3 blue crabs-outer shells removed and bodies halved
Diced Korean hot peppers (or Mexican jalapenos - to taste)
1 small block of tofu
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
*NOTE: Deonjang is the Korean word for fermented soybean. JJigae is the Korean term for stew. Traditional Deonjang is made from a lengthy process of fermenting soybeans in sea-salt [for up to one year]. The "paste" is then partially dried and formed into blocks which are wrapped in ropes of rice straw and hung on racks to "cure" in the dry autumn-early winter air. The dried Deonjang can be stored for very long periods of time. To use, cooks simply break-off desired pieces to be rehydrated for the recipe they are preparing.
These days, however, commercial Deonjang is readily available in Asian markets, but it varies in texture, taste and color. Although it is different from the traditional Deonjang, commercial Deonjang is use throughout the restaurant industry and in many hoe kitchens due to its convenience and milder, less pungent flavor.
**Note 2: Do not substitute round, red radish for Korean radish, as they are not the same. Korean radish can be found in most supermarkets under the name "Diakon."


How to prepare this recipe
Process for Preparing
Korean Crab and Shrimp Bean Paste Stew
1. In an earthen or enamel pot, add water to about 3/4/level and then put in the anchovies and seaweed. Bring to boil then simmer for about 10 minutes.
2. Remove anchovies and seaweed with a strainer and discard.(if you have pet cats, they will love this mixed in with their food-after it cools, of course).
3. Return water to a medium simmer.
4. Add the "bean paste," stirring until dissolved.
5. Put in the Korean 'Daikon' radish slices first as they require a longer time to soften (add coarsely cut potato if using in recipe).
6. Checking to make sure the radish [and potato if added] are beginning to soften, add the quartered mushrooms and cut squash.
7. Cut the hot peppers in slivers, diagonally along the peppers' lengths. Remember - the closer you cut to the stem of the pepper, the hotter the taste will be. CUT WISELY!
8. Slice the Welsh Onion into small rings, chopping the yellow onion coarsely and add them to the pot.
9. slice the tofu into cubes, placing them gently into the stew so they do not break apart.
10. Wash and add the shrimp to the stew but do not remove their shells. This prevents them from curling up into something unrecognizable during the cooking process. It also enhances the visual aesthetics of the dish when presented at table side.
11. Remove outer shells from the blue crabs, washing the crabs carefully. After breaking the bodies in halves (keeping legs and claws intact) add them to the stew.
12. Add garlic (to taste) and simmer the stew for about 30 minutes at medium heat.
**This dish is always served with bowls of steamed Korean rice.
Now gather up some people and serve them this long-standing traditional Korean dish and - "MANI DU SHIP SHI YO" {ENJOY YOUR MEAL}


The story behind this recipe
(Korean Crab and Shrimp Bean Paste Stew)
Pronounced /dwen jahng chi gae/, I learned of 'bean paste stew' my first full day in Korea eighteen years ago, when my Korean host family introduced me to the dish at their breakfast table. Years later from my Korean wife I learned to make Bean Paste (deonjang) in its traditional measure, a lengthy culinary procedure that requires the cultivation, harvesting and preparation of soybeans for the yearlong fermentation and curing process that makes up the true essence of Bean Paste Stew.
As I learned to make Deonjang and to prepare Bean Paste Stew, I also learned a deep respect for the hard toiling people of the Korean countryside who, through their devotion to tradition and their rooted knowledge of culinary understanding, have taken, down through the generations, the necessary patience and labor to keep this heartwarming and delectable dish a part of the Korean cuisine.
By custom, Bean Paste Stew is served as a communal food with bowls of steamed rice and is to be shared by those at the table from the same pot. It's a dish prepared from the love of good food and the warmth of building friendships, thus, whenever I eat "JJigae," I still remember that first day in the country and that lovely host family who introduced me to this small part of Korean culinary history.
It is with that memory and my respect for those who taught me the means of making deonjang and bean paste stew, and those who tirelessly keep the traditional methods of making Korean foods alive, that I have come to believe that if you gather up some strangers and set forth a hearty bowl of Bean Paste Stew, by the time you and those strangers have finished eating, you will have made some new friends, for Deonjang JJigae is always known to bring to a table, pleasant smiles and kind conversation.