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In videos or photographs depicting meals in South Korea, have you ever seen a black bowl or pot sitting in the center of the table? You may have noticed that, on one hand, these bowls contain stews, such as doenjang jjigae or kimchi jjigae. On the other hand, maybe they contained a soup such as samgyetang or a custardy egg dish named gyeran jjim.
In Korea, this black pot is known as a ‘ttukbaegi’ (뚝배기). Here, we will take a deep dive into how people use the Korean ttukbaegi, where to buy these pots, and how to maintain them.
What Is a Korean Ttukbegi (Ddukbaegi)?
A Korean ‘ttukbaegi’ (뚝배기), or ddukbaegi, is a type of traditional onggi. Previously, we went into an in-depth discussion about the Korean onggi which you can read about here. Otherwise, in short, an onggi can be described as a Korean earthenware pot. There are many different varieties and styles of onggi based on the uses, sizes, artisanal manufacturing techniques, and materials.
A ttukbaegi is a smaller black or brown earthenware bowl used as a cookware and serving dish. Typically, people in Korea cook their soups, stews, and steamed dishes in these pots and then transfer them to the table. Because these pots retain heat extremely well, they do not cool off when removed from the stovetop. As a result, when placed on the table, the soups and stews usually arrive still hot and bubbling.
If you need to, wait a bit to let it cool off. Otherwise, you may burn your tongue!
What Do People Cook In These Korean Ttukbaegi Pots?
Like we mentioned above, people often cook soups and stews in these earthenware pots. Some examples include:
- Kimchi Jjigae: Korean Kimchi Stew
- Doenjang Jjigae: Soybean Paste Stew
- Samgyetang: Ginseng Chicken Soup
- Sundubu Jjigae: Soft Tofu Stew
Finally, a special type of dish known as gyeran jjim is often made in these Korean earthenware pots. Gyeran jjim is made by steaming whisked eggs in a broth over high heat. The resulting dish is fluffy, light, and warming.
Where Can I Buy A Ttukbaegi (Ddukbaegi)?
When shopping for ttukbaegi, you can find a few different styles. Below, we listed a few different things to look out for:
- Color: You can find ttukbaegi in a few different colors. The traditional versions of these pots are either black or brown. I have seen white ttukbaegi starting to pop up, but these are not traditional and upon further inspection, they tend not to be Korean made.
- Glaze: Besides color, you can also find ttukbaegi with different types of glaze. While some have a shiny finish, others have a more matte look. I prefer the ones without too much shine!
- Size: Ttukbaegi pots come in many different sizes. On one hand, you can buy a large one to feed approximately 8 people stew along with banchan and other dishes. On the other hand, you can find smaller sizing to feed yourself and maybe one other person.
- Lid: Finally, you can find ttukbaegi with and without a lid. I always recommend buying ones with lids. That way, you can cover your dishes while cooking. Also, you can cover the pot to keep the dish hot long after it is off the stove. Finally, if I have leftover stew, I often just put the lid on top before placing the entire dish into the refrigerator. Then, I pull it out the next day to reheat–No need to dirty other containers!
You can find ttukbaegi at your local Asian grocery store for between five to fifteen dollars. You can also buy them online in stores like Amazon! Just note, they tend to be more expensive online!
How Do You Clean These Earthenware Pots?
Unlike other types of onggi, because ttukbaegi are glazed, you can wash them with soap, a sponge, and warm water.
DO NOT place these pots in the dishwasher. Unfortunately, dishwashers can ruin or break earthenware pots. Thankfully, these pots are quick and easy to clean in the sink!
Do You Want A Korean Ttukbaegi (Ddukbaegi)?
In the end, do you want a small Korean earthenware cooking and serving pot? If so, let us know in the comment section below. Or, if you already own one, what do you typically make with it?
If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on our blog. We listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey Korean recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by our blended Korean and Southern heritage. Also, we listed some of our gluten-free recommendations for Korean cooking!
Gluten-Free Korean Cooking:
- Our Favorite Gluten-Free Gochujang Brands
- Gluten-Free Soy Sauce Brands
- Different Gluten-Free Doenjang Brands
Carving A Journey Korean Recipes:
- Korean Braised Lotus Roots
- Tteokkochi (Korean Rice Cake Skewers)
- Jumeokbap (Handmade Korean Rice Balls)
- Bibimmyeon (Korean Spicy Cold Noodles); And
- Korean Banana Flavored Milk
If you have any questions or comments, you can also email us at [email protected].
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