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A Patric

Meju: Where to find it

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Hi all,

I really like making fermented foods from scratch, and I've experimented with home-cultured and fermented shoyu and miso already. Now I'm really getting into Korean cuisine and I would like to take things further and make my own doenjang (dwenjang). I have found descriptions of the process and even a full recipe online. It seems that there are two main phases. A nice pictorial.

The first is the cooking of the soybeans to make blocks (meju) and the aging/drying during which some fermentation takes place and the second phase is mixing the aged/dried meju blocks with liquid and sometimes spices and other flavorings to make the finished doenjang paste, which seems to experience a secondary fermentation.

I am forbidden by my wife to hang smelly blocks of meju in my house in an attempt to mimick phase one, but I am free to make the finished paste from pre-aged Meju Blocks, and it is my understanding that this second part is often what is done in Korean households.

Here is the problem: I can't find Meju. I have read that it comes in blocks usually, but sometimes in powder form. I can't find either in my local Korean market, and I haven't had any luck finding it online either, even at the large online Korean ingredients stores. I am hoping to find something in the US--perhaps Los Angeles or NYC. Can anyone help?

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Just an update:

KOAmart.com said that they don't carry Meju in any form. That was my last try with an online store.

Any other thoughts for where to find it in the US?

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Hmmm my mom makes homemade daengjang in another process that doesn't involve the dried blocks of soy beans. She boils the beans, purees them and then adds them to big jars and adds salt. I will have to ask her what else she does. It's a very simple process and is a lot easier than using the blocks.

My grandmother still hangs blocks of the stuff with straw in her pantry in her house's courtyard - very very old school korean

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I'm looking forward to hearing back from you. Your mother's process sounds similar to what I did to make Miso, only there was a mold-based inoculation/temperature regulation prior to the liquid/salt fermentation.

Best,

Alan

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okay, wow. I asked my mom and she said 'NO, IT'S SECRET"

sheesh ): Korean mothers can be a pain sometimes.

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Alan, I have a friend who's grandmother has been teaching me how to make kimchi, doenjang jjige, etc. They have asked me if I wanted to learn how to make doenjang but I haven't taken them up on that offer. I'll see if I can get the information to you and the recipe as well.

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