The Korea Herald


[Korea Quiz] Smelly bean blocks

By Korea Herald

Published : April 4, 2024 - 10:51

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Find the answer at the bottom.

Meju are bricks of dried, fermented soybeans that are used to make three of Korea’s most essential condiments -- doenjang (bean paste), ganjang (soy sauce) and gochujang (red pepper paste).

Traditionally, when families made their own condiments, it was common to see several blocks of cooked, mashed beans hanging up to dry and ferment. During winter, the typical jang-making season, Korean homes would be filled with the unique, pungent scent of meju fermenting and aging.

After being hung to ferment, the meju lumps would be kept in large clay pots with brine for months. The resulting paste becomes doenjang, while the liquid is ganjang. Gochujang is made by fermenting a mixture of soybean malt, starch, chiller powders and meju powder.

Nowadays, many families purchase their condiments from supermarkets, making it rare to find meju in people's homes, except in some rural areas.

Answer: (a)