Light & Brothy Doenjang 'Guk' Soup

All recipe posts are written by our co-founder Jennifer J. Yoo unless otherwise noted. 
Some folks have asked me the difference between 'Chigae' (also spelled 'jjigae') and 'Guk'. Both dishes have a liquid base along with meat, seafood or vegetables with Chigae being thicker and stronger in flavor than Guk. Chigae, with its higher percentage of solids, is essentially like a Western stew and is typically shared among those dining together. Guk is always served individually, puts more emphasis on the liquid, with the broth being more subtle in flavor and thinner in consistency than Chigae.  I love Doenjang Chigae (recipe coming soon!) but am also a huge fan of Doenjang Guk, especially for breakfast. The Kombu and Clam that's used for the base gives the broth a clean and refreshing flavor that makes it a perfect choice for a light breakfas. As for the Konnyaku, also known as Japanese Yam Cake, should you have trouble locating it from your local Asian grocer, or if you're not a fan of it, you can substitute with tofu, shirataki noodles or more veggies. 

TIME 10 minutes


  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons doenjang 
  • 4 oz spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chungjang soy sauce
  • 1/2 package Konnyaku (one package is about 8oz) or 1/2 package Shirataki noodles*
  • 6 littleneck clams 
  • 2 Thai chili peppers** (Optional), sliced in half
* Feel free to substitute with 1/2 package of tofu

** I love a little kick balanced with the fresh flavor of the clam based broth but you can feel free to omit the peppers. 


  1. Clean the clams and set aside. In a pot, add 3 cups of water with Kombu and clams, let it come to a gentle boil. Take clam out and set aside as cooking it for too long will make the clam meat too chewy. Add doenjang and peppers, if using, into the broth and turn heat low, let it continue cooking for couple more minutes.
  2. In the mean time, pour boiling water over the konnyaku. It will help rid of the fishy smell that it comes with.  
  3. Add konnyaku into the doeenjang broth and add spinach and the clams back in. Let it cook for another minute or so, discard the Kombu and peppers, and serve. 

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