April 13, 2024
KCNA Naenara (En)

National Intangible Cultural Heritage—Jang-Making Custom

Date: 24/02/2024 | Source: Naenara (En) | Read original version at source

Soybean paste has been widely known as a health food for its nutritive value.

It has a long history as an excellent national food which characterizes the outstanding wisdom, creativity and unique dietary culture of the Korean nation.

Inscriptions on Koguryo tomb murals say that a large number of people were mobilized to carry out a huge project during which they consumed all of jang (soy sauce and soybean paste) in a store, as well as white rice and meat.

As can be seen through such proverbs as “Though the appearance of earthen bowl is poor, the taste of jang is good” and “Sweet jang , sweet home,” the Korean ancestors regarded jang as an important thing vital to the rise and fall of a family.

As each family prepared its own jang , the methods and tastes differed, and a family’s nobility depended on the taste of jang .

It is said that there were so many jang -making methods that a girl in Kaesong had to master scores of methods before she got married.

The traditional method is as follows:

At around Ripttong (the beginning of winter according to the lunar calendar that falls on November 7 or 8), well-ripened beans are put in water for a day before boiling them hard and pounding them in a mortar. Then, make them into balls 10 to 15 cm in diameter. The ball is called meju (soybean malt).

Wrap them in rice straws and hang them for a few months in a well-ventilated place at certain temperatures to dry with maltase growing in them.

In March of next year, crush the dried balls, put them in a sterilized jar, pour salt and water there in the 3-1 ratio, and leave the jar open to clean air and sunlight every morning.

Two or three months later, there comes black liquid in the jar. Pour it in a saucepan and boil it to make soy sauce, and ferment the leftover to make paste.

As seen above, the Koreans have long since made soy sauce, bean paste and red-peppered paste with bean and salt as the basic ingredients and developed them into a unique fermented food peculiar to the nation.

Red-peppered paste was made in any regions of the country and, in particular, the one from Kaesong was most famous.

The jang -making custom has been registered on the list of national intangible cultural heritage.

Jo Il Gyong, head of the Intangible Cultural Office of the Korean National Heritage Preservation Agency

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