Korean army stew or budae jjigae is a Korean stew is a popular dish that originated after the Korean war. I love this dish because you can really adjust it to your own liking and enjoy it however you want. The main flavor component for the stew is gochujang and gochugaru which provide spice, umami, and saltiness.
History of Korean army stew (budae jjigae)
The history behind this dish runs quite deep and originates around the time of the Korean war. There were very few food resources and the country was extremely poor. Because of these conditions, they were forced to use any food scraps that they could find and often times they would use food from the US. You are really able to see the influence through ingredients like spam and American cheese.
My favorite Korean army stew ingredients
Spam is a type of processed pork that comes in a tin. It is very salty but goes perfect with noodles or rice. If you have been following my recipes for a while, you would know how much I love spam.
Enoki mushrooms are probably the best type of mushrooms to put in this stew because they soak up the soup extremely well. Once cooked, they almost turn into a sponge and really absorb the flavors from the stew.
Medium firm tofu
Tofu is a great addition to the stew for the soft texture and bland flavor to balance out the richness of the rest of the ingredients and the stew.
Similar to spam, hot dogs are great for added saltiness and overall flavor. They are easily one of my favorite items to add in my noodles so this is a must.
Ingredients for Korean army stew base
- 2 tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste): This is a fermented bean paste and is the most important ingredient in my opinion. No substitutions.
- 2 tbsp gochugaru (Korean chili flakes): In my opinion, these chili flakes are not very spicy, but they do add an element of smokiness to the broth.
- 2 tbsp cooking wine: Not rice wine or rice wine vinegar, I use cooking wine.
- 1 tbsp soy sauce: Self explanatory, it adds umami and salt.
- 1 tbsp minced garlic: You can never have enough garlic, so you can even add more haha.
- 1/2 tbsp sugar: Sugar really balances out the saltiness from all the other ingredients.
- 4 cups chicken stock: Chicken stock is ideal for the most flavorful broth you can have.
Korean Army Stew (Budae Jjigae)
Sauce For Stew
- 2 tbsp gochujang
- 2 tbsp gochugaru
- 2 tbsp cooking wine
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- ½ tbsp sugar
Ingredients In Stew
- ½ can spam (thinly sliced)
- 2 hot dogs (thinly sliced)
- ¼ cup kimchi
- ¼ block medium firm tofu
- ¾ cup rice cakes
- enoki mushrooms
- 1 L chicken stock
- 1 package ramen noodles
- 2 slices American sliced cheese
- green onions
- Prepare your soup base sauce by combining all the "sauce for stew" ingredients together in a bowl.2 tbsp gochujang, 2 tbsp gochugaru, 2 tbsp cooking wine, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp minced garlic, ½ tbsp sugar
- Prepare all your remaining ingredients but cutting them into your desired portions. This is all up to personal preference to be honest but I like to cut them all about similar sizes.½ can spam, 2 hot dogs, ¼ cup kimchi, ¼ block medium firm tofu, ¾ cup rice cakes, enoki mushrooms
- Add all the ingredients except for your ramen and cheese into a deep pan along with the sauce.
- Add chicken stock, only enough to fill up the pan ¾ way full.1 L chicken stock
- Heat this up over high heat until it comes up to a boil, then add the ramen noodles along with slices of American cheese.1 package ramen noodles, 2 slices American sliced cheese
- Let the noodles cook, top with green onions, and enjoy.green onions
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