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Table Manners





Making Doenjang


1. Prepare lumps of meju (fermented soybeans).


2. Put salt into a wicker (or bamboo) basket, and place this basket over a large container. Pour water into the basket to make brine. Pass brine through a fine sieve. Prepare an earthenware jar with a wide mouth to receive much sunshine. Pour hot water into the jar to sterilize it. Brush meju lumps clean, and wash them one by one in water.


3. Put washed meju lumps in the jar and pour brine over them.



4. Put clean soot (Korean charcoal made by burning wooden pieces), peppers, and jujubes into the jar and keep the jar covered for 3 days. Open the jar to have the contents exposed to the sun.


5. Cover the jar with a piece of fabric net, and leave it for 40 days. Open the jar as often as possible to have the contents exposed to the sun. After 40 days, take out charcoal, peppers, and jujubes. Prepare another jar and a sieve. Place the sieve at the mouth of the new jar, and pass the liquid (called soybean sauce) through the sieve into the new jar.



6. After pouring out the liquid from the jar, take out meju lumps. Steam glutinous rice and cool it down. Mix the meju with steamed glutinous rice well. Add meju powder and salt. This mixture is called soybean paste.



7. When putting the paste into an earthenware jar for preserving, insert dried red peppers into the paste. Press the paste with hands, sprinkle salt on it, and cover the jar.