Souperinspiration | Spicy Salmon Miso Jjigae

My souperinspiration: Spicy Salmon Miso Jjigae

I am a huge fan of soups in particular Korean and Japanese ones. The spicy salmon miso jjigae is a Nabe X Jjigae, inspired by the very famous Ishikari from Hokkaido and the unforgettable Haemultang from Jeju island.

Hokkaido Ishikari

From the freshest catch of the sea to the vast produce of the land, Hokkaido is a tasty paradise. The mention of Hokkaido inexplicably conjures up mouth-watering visions of succulent and fresh seafood. Located in the northernmost end of Japan’s 47 prefectures, the coastline location is perfect for harvesting much of the high quality seafood from the cold waters. Blessed with wide, open spaces and favourable soil conditions, the island is home to almost a quarter of Japan’s arable land for agriculture and farming. It also produces some of the best milk and dairy products, along with corn, potatoes and THE famous melons.

Like in Alaska, salmon is a way of life on Hokkaido. The Ishikari River is the largest in Hokkaido, draining into the Sea of Japan. For generations, fishermen there have flocked to the Ishikari River, where the salmon return to spawn every fall. For generations too, they’ve enjoyed the area’s namesake hotpot cooked with their fresh catch. Along with salmon, this classic version calls for potatoes, yellow onions, vegetables introduced to Japan by the Dutch traders about 400 years ago. Once known as “Fishermen’s Food”, salmon hot pot (Ishikari-nabe in honor of the Ishikari River) is a delicious combination of salmon, vegetables and tofu boiled in a miso paste stock. Bringing together the flavours from the sea and land, this one-pot dish makes for a robust meal – perfect for the chilly Hokkaido winter! Originally, this type of 鍋物 nabemono (stew cooked in a 土鍋 donabe clay hotpot) was called salmon hotpot but since it originated from Ishikari and when it was brought over to Tokyo, the geographical name stuck. The salmon and tofu in this dish provides good sources of protein that can keep one full and feel warmer even longer.


 Jeju’s Haemultang

Jeju Island is known for the abundance of rocks, women and wind, earning it the moniker “Samdado Island,” for having plenty of the “three features.” But another feature to add is its food. The island, surrounded by the sea with Hallasan Mountain in the centre and vast stretches of fields growing vegetables, boasts a wide variety of natural produce. However, seafood dishes are the star on Jeju Island. And if one faces a difficult decision of what to choose among hundreds of seafood specialties that local restaurants offer, one is recommended to have a spicy assorted seafood stew, called “haemultang” in Korean.

Haemultang or spicy seafood stew is one of Korea’s most famous traditional foods and it is one of the best known savoury dish. It left a deep impression on my taste buds when I had it for breakfast in Jeju island 2 years back, the broth was spicy but yet sweet, richly packed with abundant seafood from blue crabs, abalones, shrimps and clams, all seasoned with gojuchang a red pepper paste. The most important characteristic of good haemultang is its fresh ingredients. The soup can contains various vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, onions, bean sprouts, dropwort, leaks, crown daisies and much more, supplementing to its spicy, refreshing deep taste. Its combination gives it a rich flavor and an amazing taste that’s also excellent for health.


 Cooking process

So essentially, the spicy salmon miso jjigae is a spicy salmon miso doenjang stew. My ultimate inspiration was to combine these two recipes into one hearty spicy yet savory salmon goodness stew filled with dangmyeon, nato sprouts, potatoes and mushrooms. I find that the flavorful japanese and korean miso-dashi broth really imparts a lot of flavor to the hearty potatoes and rich salmon while the onions add a wonderful sweetness to the broth. The addition of red pepper paste and chillies adds a spicy kick.  A little Japanese sansho pepper sprinkled on completes me!

Ingredients used for spicy salmon miso jjigae
Ingredients used for spicy salmon miso jjigae
Spicy salmon miso jjigae
Spicy salmon miso jjigae


Ingredients: salmon, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, napa cabbage, white radish, beancurd, nato sprouts, shitake mushroom, enoki mushroom, green chillies, onions, garlic, ginger, shiro miso, doenjang, dangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles), sake, mirin, chilli powder.

Condiments: sansho pepper, chopped spring onions, shredded seaweed.

Dairy free|Gluten free|Spicy

May contain fine fish bones

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