Doenjang jjigae is the quintessential representation of Korean jang. Because doenjang, the fermented soybean paste, is such a pungent ingredient, the best way to showcase its delicious flavor is to soften it. The soft tofu, the dashi, and the sweetness of the vegetables work together to mellow the intensity of the doenjang so that your palate can discern the different facets of flavor. If you buy artisanal natural doenjang, it will be quite sour in the beginning, but the sourness will turn to sweetness over time. Every traditionally made doenjang will take a different amount of time for this to happen.
Note: To prepare the stew without beef, replace the brisket with ½ pound peeled de-veined shrimp or other seafood. To make it vegetarian, use a vegan dashi and add ½ pound waxy potatoes cut into 1-inch chunks along with the onions in step 2.