The Korea Herald


[Temple to Table] Food of compassion, seoritae biji-jjigae

By Korea Herald

Published : Jan. 22, 2022 - 16:01

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Seoritae biji-jjigae (Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism) Seoritae biji-jjigae (Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism)
The secular world uses meat flavored stocks to add savory taste to food, but at temples, vegetable stock is an indispensable ingredient. To make vegetable stock, most temples boil white radish, shiitake mushrooms and kelp, but Jinkwansa does not use kelp. Ven. Gyeho prefers not to add the fishy smell of kelp to the plain taste of veggie stock.

Instead she prefers adding dried chilies to give dishes a mild heat. Ginger is also a common ingredient in Jinkwansa’s winter temple food. In addition to its warm energy that helps the body maintain a warm temperature and aids digestion, its distinctive scent enhances flavor and removes the undesirable smell of some ingredients. Grain syrup, made in-house by Jinkwansa’s nuns and lay staff, embodies the temple’s honest pride, as does their soy sauce and chili paste. Grain syrup, or jocheong has a mild sweetness and also enhances digestion and boosts the circulation.

Ven. Gyeho puts finely ground black soybeans into an earthen pot, adds vegetable stock, and put the pot over the fire. Then she gently cuts the blanched Napa cabbage leaves.

With her hands gliding smoothly from one task to another as though dancing, the ground black bean stew is soon done.

Seoritae biji-jjigae, ground black soybean stew


1 cup soaked black soybeans (seoritae)

2-3 leaves of Napa cabbage

green and red chilies

seasoning (2 tsp bamboo salt, 1/2 cup veggie stock)

1/2 tbsp sesame oil


1. Wash black soybeans and soak in water for 3-4 hours to remove skin.

2. Grind beans in a mill (or puree in a blender).

3. Blanch Napa cabbage leaves and cut into small pieces. Cut green and red chilies diagonally.

4. Oil a pot with sesame oil, stir-fry Napa cabbage leaves and boil by adding vegetable stock.

5. When the vegetable stock boils, add ground beans. When it boils again, add bamboo salt to suit your taste.

6. The ground beans should not be stirred with a spatula. Control the heat well to prevent burning.

Provided by Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism


Temple food is food of the ascetics who express gratitude for all forms of life and wish for peace for the whole world. The Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism operates the Korean Temple Food Center where guests can learn and experience temple food. -- Ed.