Deonjang (Soybean paste) is made from soybeans, rice, barley, wheat or fatted soybeans. These primary ingredients are mixed with salt and Aspergillus oryzae for fermenting and maturing. Or, lumps of fermented soybeans (meju) are put in brine until the brine is fermented, and the liquid is separated from the solid.
Soybean paste has been believed to have 5 virtues: devotion
- it keeps its taste even when it is mixed with other ingredients; steadiness
- it does not decay for a long time; merciful heart of Buddha
- it removes fish and oily flavor; generosity
- it neutralizes spicy tastes; and harmony
- it harmonizes well with any other food.
Soybean paste is one of the traditional Korean foods carried over for generations. Soybean is loved by Korean people for its excellencies in taste and effects.
Origin of Doenjang
The origin and benefits of doenjang (soy bean paste) are unmatched with those of any other food or seasoning in the entire world. The unique Korean culture of seasonings dates back to the days when Koreans first began farming and raising beans. Historical records state that doenjang (soy bean paste) was one of the dishes prepared and served by King Shinmoon of the Shilla Dynasty when he first greeted his father- and mother-in-law in the year 683.
Hence, doenjang (soy bean paste) has long been one of the most import!ant foods in Korea.
Historical records refer to doenjang as boiled beans that have a dark color.
This is another way of describing fermented soy beans that have been salted.
Korean ancestors later introduced doenjang to the Chinese. The Chinese referred to the people of Goguryeo as experts in making fermented foods and named the unique scent of doenjang 'Goryeo-chwi' (the Korea scent). After fermented soybeans were introduced to Korea, Koreans began developing a new form of seasoning that was fundamentally different from Chinese seasonings. Many historical records state that Korean seasonings were introduced to Japan in the 8th and 9th Century. One of these records is the 'Dae-bo-yul-ryung' which was written in Japan in 701.
Also, the book 'Dong-a' (1717) states that the word 'Korea-jang' (Korean seasoning) has been used in Japan ever since the Korean craftsman Mal-jang came to Japan. Records that explain the production process of Korean seasonings in detail first appeared in the Chosun Dynasty. The 'Gu-hwang-bo-yu-bang' (1660) explains that fermented soybeans were made from beans and wheat. This shows that ancient Korean seasonings were considerably different from their modern descendants. The 'Jung-bo-sal-lim-kyung-jae' is the first record to explain the process in which fermented soybeans are made from beans. This method is identical to the basic principle behind modern doenjang.
Linoleic acid and other substances in doenjang can suppress 90% of the production of cancer-causing substances. In addition, there are roughly 100 billion beneficial enzymes in 100 grams of doenjang which soften the skin and aid digestion.